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Tesla boss Elon Musk is undoubtedly a polarizing figure. From his controversial political statements to his contentious takeover of Twitter, Musk divides opinion in whatever he does. But there's one thing that's not up for debate about the world's richest person – he's always planning something.
At the annual Tesla AI Day last month, Musk unveiled Optimus, a humanoid robot made by Tesla that could become commercially available to the general public in a few years. The idea is to mass-produce the robots and sell them for less than $20,000, making them far more affordable than a new car (especially if that new car happens to be a Tesla).
Optimus is still very much a work in progress, but Tesla's engineers are planning to test the robot's capabilities by utilizing prototypes in Tesla car factories. At the unveiling event in Silicon Valley, attendees watched a video of Optimus doing jobs such as carrying boxes and watering plants. Musk has said that he envisions Optimus performing work that humans find boring or dangerous.
The Tesla of tomorrow:
- However, whether Optimus will ever have the dexterity to truly perform the same tasks as a human remains to be seen, and many people are likely to be somewhat skeptical of Musk's bold pronouncements.
- After all, Tesla's robotaxis that Musk promised would be on the road in 2020 have yet to make their debut, with the new production date supposedly in 2024.
- Musk has reassured people that his AI won't be a danger to humans, à la Terminator. To this end, Tesla has included safeguards such as an unbreakable "stop" button that can't be removed.