Electric car maker Tesla is contemplating ambitious plans to use thousands of humanoid robots, known as Tesla Bots or Optimus, inside its factories. Android crews could eventually expand to millions around the world. The versions, based on press releases and job offers from the company founded by Elon Musk, grow as Tesla stepped up internal conferences on robot development, a source close to the company said.
The robot business may eventually account for more volume than Tesla car sales revenue, according to Musk.
The tycoon said that Tesla will present a prototype of its Optimus project, an allusion to the character from the Transformers film series. Production could start next year, he said.
Humanoid robots have been in development for decades by Honda and Hyundai’s Boston Dynamics unit. But like self-driving cars, robots for factories struggle with unpredictable situations.
To have success, Tesla it will need to develop robots capable of performing multiple actions without following a predetermined script, said Nancy Cooke, a professor of human systems engineering at Arizona State University.
“If only the robot can walk or dance, that is no longer enough,” said the specialist.
Initially, Optimus would perform monotonous or dangerous tasks in his factories, according to Musk.
Tesla is hiring people to work on humanoid robot technologies, and has already issued about 20 job postings at “Tesla Bot,” including jobs designing key robot parts.
“The code you will write will be executed to completion on millions of humanoid robots around the world and will therefore be held to high quality standards,” one of the job postings read.
“Investors are not excited about Optimus,” said Gene Munster, managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures, which owns Tesla shares. “The probability of these types of projects working on a large scale is very low,” he said.
In 2018, an assembly robot developed for Musk was unable to perform simple tasks that human hands can do, such as handling pieces of soft or spongy materials.
Musk then admitted that the cost of employing technicians to maintain these robots far exceeded the cost of hiring a human to manually do the assembly.
Source: La Opinion