The first use of the Tesla robot will likely be in the company’s own facilities, Elon Musk said, giving the example of moving parts around a factory.
The humanoid robot Tesla Inc. First teased five months ago, it is arguably the most important product the automaker is working on and has the potential to become more important than its auto company, CEO Elon Musk said. Tesla’s “Technoking” on Wednesday played the bot — known internally as Optimus — about models the company has been developing for years. During an earnings call, Musk said the Tesla Semi and Tesla Roadster were first unveiled in 2017 and that the Cybertruck to be shown in 2019 will be further behind schedule and will “hopefully” enter production next year.
The first use of the Tesla bot will likely be in the company’s own facilities, Musk said, giving the example of moving parts around a factory. He first previewed the product after a human dressed as a robot performed a dance routine at an August event that showcased Tesla’s artificial intelligence efforts.
“The foundation of the economy is labor,” Musk said Wednesday. “So what happens if you don’t really have a labor shortage? I’m not sure what an economy means at the time. That is what Optimus stands for.”
Musk said in August that Tesla planned to place cameras used for its Autopilot driver assistance system inside the humanoid robot’s head. The computer that the company hopes will eventually enable full self-driving capability in its vehicles will go inside the bot’s hull.
Tesla is working on supply chain issues that will limit production this year, though Musk said he expects the company to “comfortably” exceed its 50% annual growth rate. The automaker will not introduce new models in 2022 and will instead focus on expanding production at existing plants and starting Model Y production at new plants in Austin, Texas and near Berlin.
When Musk first showed prototypes of the Semi and Roadster, the CEO said the former would go into production in 2019 and the latter would be available the following year. The Cybertruck was initially planned for the end of 2021.
Tesla shares fell as much as 1% to $927.93 in Thursday’s early trading. The stock rose 50% last year after rising 743% in 2020.