Tesla multi-billionaire and CEO Elon Musk has announced the development of a humanoid robot. A prototype is expected to be available in the coming year, Musk said Thursday on his company’s AI Day, a day dedicated to artificial intelligence. “It has to be naturally user-friendly, navigate a man-made world, and eliminate dangerous, repetitive and boring work,” Musk said. The robot will also be designed so that it is not particularly fast. “You can run away from him.”
According to Musk, the Tesla robot will be around 1.77 meters tall and weigh 57 kilograms. “It has some sort of display over its head for useful information, but otherwise it’s basically equipped with an autopilot system,” the entrepreneur said.
The Tesla robot will be equipped with eight cameras and a full-fledged stand-alone computer and will use the same tools Tesla uses in the car. “The hardest thing about a useful humanoid robot is that it can’t navigate the world without being properly trained.” But it should work line by line without explicit instructions. “You can talk to him and say, ‘Please take this screw and use the wrench to secure it to the car,’ and he should be able to do that.”
The use of human robots will have far-reaching consequences, Musk predicted. “In the future, physical labor will be an option. If you want to do it, you can do it, but you don’t have to. Obviously, this has profound economic implications, because if you consider the economy to be at its most basic working level, then maybe there are no real limits to the economy.
Tesla is known for announcing major technical innovations at a very early stage of development and for bringing systems into service that are not yet considered market ready by other companies.
This also applies to the self-driving option of Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ driver assistance system, which has been criticized after a series of rear-end collisions. It is criticized that the name “autopilot” is an exaggeration that invites careless use. Tesla even calls the next stage of the program “Full Self-Driving”, although by standard industry criteria only one assistance system remains.
Shareholders were rather unimpressed with Friday’s plans. Tesla’s shares were only slightly positive in European trading.