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Elon Musk's Next Big Thing, ‘Humanoid Robots' Powered by the Same AI Used for its Self-Driving Vehicles

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【Summary】Last night during a live streamed event called “AI Day”, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk teased the “Tesla Bot”, a realistic humanoid robot that would be powered by the same types of AI systems that Tesla uses for its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature in its cars.

Eric Walz    Aug 20, 2021 11:25 AM PT
Elon Musk's Next Big Thing, ‘Humanoid Robots' Powered by the Same AI Used for its Self-Driving Vehicles

Tesla Chief Executive has a bold vision beyond his electric car company, including traveling to space and colonizing Mars. But last night during a live streamed event called "AI Day", Musk teased the "Tesla Bot", a realistic humanoid robot that would be powered by the same types of AI systems that Tesla uses for its Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature in its cars.

The robot will use Tesla's autopilot software, with 8 cameras feeding into the same neural  network used by its vehicles.

"Our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels," said Musk. He added that it makes sense to put the software "onto a humanoid form." Musk said that "Tesla is already the world's biggest robotics company." 

The Tesla Bot stands 5ft 8 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds. Instead of a face, the robot will have a screen that would show information. The robot will be able to deadlift 150 pounds, according to Musk. It will also be able to carry roughly 45 pounds and walk about 5mph, which is a brisk pace, as humans walk an average of 3.1 mph.

The thought of thousands of AI-powered humanoid robots walking about and terrorizing humans seems frightening to some. So Musk said the Tesla Bot will be made less stronger than an average person.

"We're setting its as such that it is at a mechanical level, at a physical level, you can run away from it," Musk said, adding that it would "be friendly of course."

The Tesla Bot is really designed to perform dangerous or repetitive jobs that are not suitable for humans, or boring jobs that people simply don't want to do. But it can also address labor shortages. It will have 40 electromechanical actuators to perform many human-like movements.

With  the Tesla Bot, Musk predicts that in the future physical work will be a choice. 

"If you want to do it you can, but you won't have to do it," Musk said.

Musk said the Tesla Bot would have "profound implications for the economy." He stresses that it's important to make the machine not "super-expensive."

Musk said that Tesla will probably have a prototype of the Tesla Bot ready by next year.

The rest of Tesla AI Day was dedicated to providing an overview of Tesla's AI-powered autonomous driving software and hardware stack, including how Tesla uses neural nets to make better driving decisions. It was largely presented by Andrej Karpathy, the Director of AI and Autopilot Vision at Tesla.

When asked by a member of the audience if Tesla will ever open source its technologies, Musk was hesitant to reply, meaning no. However, he did say that Tesla is open to licensing some self-driving technology to other automakers. 

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