At the end of Tesla Day 2021, Elon Musk surprised the audience with the announcement of Tesla Bot, an AI-powered humanoid robot capable of performing basic tasks. Tesla Bot, according to Musk, would stand 5’8″, weigh 125 pounds, have “human-level hands.” It would also be able to hold up to 45 pounds, travel at 5 mph, and display information on a screen within its face. The humanoid robot, which looks like a Black Mirror fever dream, would be powered by Tesla’s Autopilot, the AI that powers its self-driving cars. Regarding the timeline of Tesla Bot, Musk said, “We think we’ll probably have a prototype sometime next year that basically looks like this.” However, at the event itself, there was no prototype present. There was simply a model wearing a custom similar to the concept designs of the Tesla Bot. Elon Musk maintained that it was still in early development and that the dancer in the branded spandex suit was the model for the robot.
This would be a major leap forward in AI technology and combine complex inputs and outputs. For instance, you can ask your Alexa device to order some snacks via Amazon. But it won’t get up and go to the grocery store. Musk suggested this would be possible with the Tesla Bot. Some have expressed skepticism about the future of the Tesla Bot particularly as Autopilot has recently come under fire regarding a number of crashes. Plus, noted robotics company Boston Dynamics, which has been working in the field for over a decade, don’t seem anywhere near a complex bipedal robot. The Tesla Bot is likely an inevitability and the promise of an AI-powered robot capable of handling routine tasks is compelling. But, it’s unclear when exactly the Tesla Bot will become a reality.