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Elon Musk says ‘epic’ Tesla robot Optimus will be unveiled at AI event

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Tesla’s humanoid Optimus bot is being designed as a general purpose robot (Tesla)
Tesla’s humanoid Optimus bot is being designed as a general purpose robot (Tesla)

Tesla will unveil a prototype of its Optimus robot in September, Elon Musk has revealed.

The Tesla CEO said the company’s AI Day would be delayed in order to debut the humanoid robot, which the billionaire has claimed could be “more significant” than the company’s electric car business.

“Tesla AI Day pushed to Sept 30, as we may have an Optimus prototype working by then,” Mr Musk tweeted. “Tesla AI Day ~2 will be epic.”

The Optimus robot was first teased last August at Tesla’s inaugural AI event, with Mr Musk saying it would have “profound implications for the economy”.

Designed as a general purpose robot, the 173cm (5’8”) Optimus will be capable of navigating the world using numerous cameras, sensors and self-piloting software.

Mr Musk claims it will be capable of carrying out everyday tasks, such as shopping in a supermarket, but early iterations will most likely be used for factory-based applications.

He also said last year that the Optimus robot would be the most important product that the world’s most valuable auto manufacturer will develop in 2022.

“Essentially in the future, physical work will be a choice. If you want to do it you can, but you won’t need to do it,” he said at the 2021 Tesla AI Day.

“Tesla is arguably the world’s biggest robotics company because our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels. It kind of makes sense to put that onto a humanoid form.”

The Tesla boss said the robot is “intended to be friendly”, having previously warned of the dangers of advanced artificial intelligence.

“We are setting it such that it is, at a mechanical level, at a physical level, you can run away from it, and most likely overpower it,” he said.

“Hopefully that doesn’t ever happen, but you never know.”

Mr Musk already uses advanced robots in his other companies, including a pair of robot dogs that patrol SpaceX’s Starbase launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

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