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Tesla To Employ Thousands Of Its “Humanoid Robots” In Its Factories

The big surprise at the initial Tesla AI Day in 2021 was Tesla’s plan for an actual human-like, or “humanoid,” robot. (Though, our own Chanan Bos did predict that type of product.) Some basic details were presented, and a human in a robot costume danced around a bit.

While Tesla’s Full Self Driving (FSD) has been slow to reach a convincing level of autonomy, I think the potential for Tesla to capitalize on the AI it is developing in the form of a humanoid robot is tremendous.

Although it’s extremely challenging to get a car to drive smoothly and correctly in every imaginable situation, there’s a lot more leeway in many environments where a humanoid robot using the same core intelligence could be useful. With decent vision (cameras) and intelligence, in theory, a humanoid robot could be trained to do a variety of activities without supervision and without the risk of driving 50 mph into other moving cars. It seems like a win-win-win-win. But where to use these Tesla humanoid robots first? Tesla factories of course!

Reuters recently reported the company is ramping up ambitious plans to develop the Tesla Bot, also known as Optimus, with internal meetings and hiring for about 20 positions including software and firmware engineers, deep learning scientists, actuator technicians, and internships,” according to yahoo! finance.

For a “Motion Planning & Navigation, Tesla Bot” job opening, Tesla writes, “Tesla is on a path to build humanoid bi-pedal robots at scale to automate repetitive and boring tasks. Core to the Tesla Bot, the motion planning stack presents a unique opportunity to work on state-of-the-art algorithms for motion planning and navigation culminating in their deployment to real world production applications. Our motion planning software engineers develop and own this stack from inception to deployment. Most importantly, you will see your work repeatedly shipped to and utilized by thousands of Humanoid Robots within our factories.”

We should learn much more about Tesla’s progress on the Tesla Optimus bot in a few days, at Tesla’s second AI Day event on September 30, 2022. We will see how far the concept has come. Will Optimus go on sale next year? In 3 years? We’ll see what Tesla CEO Elon Musk says in a couple of days.

Elon Musk has long talked about Tesla’s innovation in building “the machine that builds the machine,” and in recent years, he has emphasized in public and in private DMs to me that he sees manufacturing becoming Tesla’s #1 area of competitive advantage, the top way in which Tesla will outshine its peers. Though, he has not said much about Tesla Optimus playing a role in that improved, efficiency-focused manufacturing prowess. It seems only logical that Optimus has become part of the plans now, though.

Musk has big hopes for Optimus generally, thinking that it may even become a bigger deal for Tesla than the cars the company creates. “This, I think, has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time,” he said earlier this year. Where better to test out and refine the Optimus than in Tesla’s own factories? If it can evolve well there, it can surely be used in other factories, in homes, and in other capacities.

Featured image courtesy of Jim Ringold | CleanTechnica

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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