Tesla AI Day Robot Liveblog

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Tesla’s AI Day livestream event is supposed to start in about 5 minutes. We’ve published some articles leading up to today’s event about what might be included, but there have been essentially no leaks about what will actually be covered. We’ll see! You can watch the livestream on Tesla’s website or via the embedded YouTube player below, but I’m also going to liveblog some highlights and my thoughts here. Every time I add a new highlight/comment, I will update this blog. Stay tuned, or check back in later for the full rundown of Tesla AI Day highlights and extra commentary.

9:17 pm (ET): The Optimus robot displayed last year was just a person dancing in a robot suit!! Who knew?!?

9:25: The goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as soon as possible.

That demo pictured above was the first time Tesla used the robot untethered. Engineers seems quite nervous it would fall down, but it performed the demo flawlessly.

This next one looks very much like the robot Tesla plans to bring to market, but it can’t walk yet (maybe in ~3 weeks, Elon Musk says):

Elon Musk expects the Optimus robot to cost less than $20,000.

9:28: Musk is now also talking about “a future of abundance, a future of no poverty.” That sounds nice, but that’s not how the world works. Nonetheless, I do think it reemphasizes Musk’s dream of helping humanity on a massive scale. One may also say it represents an unrealistic idealism, and an excessive faith in the potential for technology to solve fundamental problems of inequity and poverty across the world.

9:34: (This is from earlier, but am just posting about it.) They showed a video of the Optimus robot doing some useful tasks, from working in a factory to watering plants. Here are a few shots of the robot in action as well as what it is seeing:

9:40: Tesla is using its vast knowledge and technological know-how from creating the safest cars in the world in order to protect the Optimus robot.

9:52: Tesla engineers talked at length about why the Optimus robot is designed to be like a human, and some of the many details of how it is achieving that target.

9:50: This included talking about human hands and robot hands, human walking and robot walking, and more.

9:59: Tesla is now looking to start using this robot in Tesla factories in order to take it to the next stage of development.

10:00: “All of this was done in barely 6 to 8 months,” one of the engineers notes.

It’s an amazing achievement, and it seems likely to be another enormous, transformative product from Tesla. That said, it is also quite expensive, and one has to wonder who will find its capabilities worth that cost in the next few or several years. We shall see!

10:03: Tesla’s head of Autopilot (aside from Elon Musk himself), Ashok Elluswamy, is now talking about Full Self Driving (FSD) Beta.

10:07: I’m not going to lie — after a year with FSD Beta and no serious improvement as far as I’ve discerned (perhaps even devolution), none of this part of the presentation is impressing me at this point.

In short: it’s complicated. But will it work?

10:32: At this point, the presenters are convincing me that FSD software is going to take years to get decent. The level of complication here and how they are dealing with it makes me think this will require so much development and refinement that we are far, far off from robotaxi-level driving.

11:30: It’s now almost an hour later. Tons of detail was presented on Tesla FSD and Dojo in the past hour. We will publish more on what was presented there in another piece. I will just repeat: In short: it’s complicated. But will it work?

12:24 am (ET): It’s over. Miss something? You will be able to watch the 3-hour presentation and Q&A on Tesla’s YouTube channel soon.

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Zachary Shahan

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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