Tesla Debuts Updated Bipedal Robot

Credit: Unsplash

The new robot moved for the first time without any kind of safety tether.

Last Friday, automotive and technological manufacturer Tesla held its AI Day event, a presentation in which they showcase their latest technological developments. The highlight of the event was an appearance by the Optimus, Tesla’s own work-in-progress bipedal robot (named, of course, after the Transformer, Optimus Prime).

“Last year was just a person in a robot suit,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said before the robot appeared. “We’ve come a long way. Compared to that, it’s going to be very impressive.”

Optimus took the stage, walking forward entirely under its own power. According to Musk, this was the first time Optimus had appeared in public without any kind of safety tether, a process typically used in robotics demonstrations to keep the machines from falling over and damaging themselves. The robot stopped on stage and took the time to wave and gesture at the audience with its articulated arms and hands.

“The robot can actually do a lot more than we just showed you,” Musk said. “We just didn’t want it to fall on its face.” The appearance was accompanied by video footage of the robot performing various tasks like lifting boxes and watering plants.

According to Musk, while Optimus isn’t as overtly mobile as some of its competitors, like Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, it could be more versatile thanks to its built-in navigational capabilities, created from similar principles to the self-driving tech used in Tesla’s cars.

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