Tesla showed a teaser photo for its humanoid robot, now known as Tesla Optimus, during its recent shareholders’ meeting, with Elon Musk announcing that the company intends to show a working prototype at the end of next month. The teaser shot shows Optimus’ robotic hands forming a heart shape and we can just about make out the intricacies of how they work.
When the Tesla bot was announced, at last year’s Tesla AI Day event, the manufacturer actually had a human dressed up in a costume appear on stage, and even though this was clearly meant as a humorous appearance, it actually drew criticism from those who said the project was not feasible. But the negative reception didn’t stop Elon Musk from pushing for this project and now, just over 12 months since the original AI Day, we are one month away from seeing a working prototype.
The second ever Tesla AI Day was also pushed back from its original date of August 19 to September 30, specifically to give the manufacturer time to create a working Optimus prototype. Elon Musk also promised the bot would have “so many cool updates,” but he didn’t elaborate or even give hints as to what they could be.
Tesla says it’s creating the robot in order for it to do some basic general tasks in its factories, lessening the load on its employees (and also protect the company from potential future worker shortages). The manufacturer didn’t seem to initially prioritize the bot’s development that much, but that has since changed and now Musk says launching the bot is even more important than some of the models it has planned for release.
The plan is to begin production of the Tesla Optimus as early as next year, so the prototype bot they will be showing at the end of September should already be quite advanced. However, Tesla has shared overly optimistic model launch timelines before, so don’t expect the company to actually meet its self-imposed 2023 deadline.