Elon Musk touts big plans for Tesla’s Optimus robot, but some experts doubt it’s the next big thing – Reuters

Tesla’s Optimus bot during AI Day.

  • Eight experts told Insider they had doubts about Elon Musk’s promises about Tesla’s Optimus bot.
  • Several experts have said that Tesla’s AI Day demonstration does not stand out from other companies’ projects.
  • Still, one expert called the automaker “well positioned” to use its self-driving technology to help power robots.
  • For more stories, visit Business Insider.

As Elon Musk unveiled a Tesla prototype Robot Optimushe promised the humanoid would one day change the way people live and work but some experts are less optimistic.

Artificial intelligence researcher Filip Piekniewski told Insider that the robot “doesn’t stand out from other similar projects” after Tweeter that Tesla’s AI Day last month was “trustworthy next level” and a “complete and utter rip-off.” Meanwhile, Melonee Wise, vice president of robotic automation at Zebra Technologies, said the device seemed “well behind” other tech companies, including Boston Dynamics.

“There’s nothing particularly surprising about that, and every company with enough budget could set up a similar demo within months,” Piekniewski said.

Piekniewski said the robot “does not match Elon Musk’s claims” that it will revolutionize the working environment. Musk said the robots could eventually replace factory workers and could even serve as caregivers.

Initial viewing of Tesla Optimus last year.

But Piekniewski cast doubt on those claims. “Robots don’t have anything even remotely close to a brain,” he said. “Yes, you can get them to perform simple tasks and show superficial levels of situational awareness, but all it takes is one detail to be off the mark and the robot will quickly spiral into a series of errors. which will usually end in irretrievable disaster. .”

Davide Scaramuzza, director of the robotics and perception group at the University of Zurich, said the robot demonstration was “better than expected”, but only because Tesla last year revealed plans for a humanoid robot with a man dressed as a robot. suit.

This year at Tesla’s Second Annual AI Day a prototype of the robot Optimus slowly took the stage and greeted the audience. Musk said it was the first time the bot had worked “without any support”. The billionaire also presented another prototype that seemed closer to production, but it had to be mounted on stage by several workers.

Tesla Optimus

At AI Day on September 30, 2022

“The robot can actually do a lot more than what we’ve shown you, we just didn’t want it to fall on your face,” Musk told viewers. He promised the bot would one day cost less than $20,000 (about R400,000) and said the automaker hopes to start taking orders within the next three to five years. both plans, experts say, are doable, but depending on your expectations for the robot.

“Building a robot to use in the real world is a lot harder than most realize,” said Dennis Hong, professor of engineering and robotics at the University of California, Los Angeles. “I don’t believe we’ll soon have humanoid robot butlers that can do the dishes, take out the trash, and run errands. But starting with something much simpler, I’m cautiously optimistic.”

A demo video at the event also showed the bot picking up and carrying boxes around the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, as well as watering plants.

Tesla Optimus

Video demo of Tesla’s Optimus bot at AI Day.

Florida State University robotics professor Christian Hubicki and University of Zurich professor Scaramuzza both told Insider that the live demo seemed heavily scripted and controlled. Cynthia Yeung, product manager at Plus One Robotics, said the bot was either preprogrammed to perform the routine or remotely operated.

“If the objects were moved an inch, the robot would no longer be able to grab them,” Scaramuzza said, noting that he thinks Tesla is more than a decade away from a robot that could be more capable than a human worker.

The Optimus bot stood out in a certain way, according to several experts his hands. Animesh Garg, a professor of AI robotics at the University of Toronto, called the bot’s hands “impressive”. Hubicki noted that the robot’s superior hand dexterity could give the humanoid robot an edge over other robots like Boston Dynamics’ Atlas when it comes to grasping “smaller, more complex objects.”

Meanwhile Jonathan Aitken, professor of robotics at the University of Sheffield, called Tesla “well placed” to use its fully autonomous navigation technology to advance robotics.

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Elon Musk touts big plans for Tesla’s Optimus robot, but some experts doubt it’s the next big thing – Reuters

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