For the first time, Elon Musk provided a production timeline for the Tesla Optimus project, a humanoid robot capable of doing general activities.
The CEO believes the company will be able to put the ambitious idea into production as early as next year. Even for him, this is an extremely ambitious timeline.
Elon Musk introduced the “Tesla Bot” idea at Tesla’s AI Day last year as something the company could achieve by utilizing existing work and parts from the development of self-driving technology, and if they don’t do it, someone else will.
At the time, it didn’t appear to be a priority for Tesla, and many saw it primarily as a recruitment tool as the automaker seeks to expand its AI team in order to deliver its entire self-driving system.
After a few months, the project’s priority level increased.
Musk revealed that Tesla will prioritize the development of the Tesla Bot, called Optimus, in 2022 over some of its next automobiles.
The CEO looked to be much more enthusiastic about the project and its potential to affect the labor shortage and, ultimately, the broader economy.
When the project was first announced, Tesla hoped to have a prototype of the humanoid robot ready by the end of 2022, but there was no mention of a production timeline.
Musk revealed a manufacturing timeline for the first time today at the Tesla Cyber Rodeo event, and it is quite aggressive even for him:
I think we have a shot at being in production for version 1 of Optimus hopefully next year.
Musk added about Tesla Optimus during the event:
It will upend our idea of what the economy is… it will be able to do basically anything humans don’t want to do. It will do it. It’s going to bring an age of abundance. It may be hard to imagine it, but as you see Optimus develop, and we will make sure it’s safe, no Terminator stuff, it will transform the world to a degree even greater than the cars.
This comes as the CEO’s enthusiasm for the project has grown in recent months.
Musk stated in January that Tesla’s humanoid robot project could play a role in making Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) a reality.
A few weeks later, we reported on Tesla’s AI director, Andrej Karpathy, who stated that he “believes ‘Tesla Bot’ is on track to become the most powerful AI development platform.”
It sounds like the project quickly graduated from something Tesla “might as well do” to a “world-changing endeavor” that is now a top priority at the company.