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Elon Musk says Tesla’s robot Optimus will be ‘worth more than’ company’s full self driving business

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Elon Musk on stage with a mock-up version of Tesla’s humanoid robot in August 2021 (Tesla)
Elon Musk on stage with a mock-up version of Tesla’s humanoid robot in August 2021 (Tesla)

Tesla chief Elon Musk has said the company’s humanoid robot Optimus would eventually be “worth more than” its self-driving car business.

Full self-driving (FSD) is a set of Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system features which uses the electric vehivle’s onboard cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to perform some driving tasks such as automatic lane changes and semi-autonomous navigation.

During the company’s first-quarter 2022 earnings call on Wednesday, Mr Musk said the company is continuing to work on its humanoid robot Optimus, first unveiled last year in August.

Built using the same AI that the electric car company uses for its vehicles, the billionaire had said the robot will be approximately 173cm tall (5ft 8in), weigh around 57kg (126lb), and be built from “lightweight materials”.

With a display screen somewhere on its body to show information, the Tesla chief said the robot is “intended to be friendly and navigate through a world built for humans” at a “mechanical level”.

“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”, Mr Musk had said.

On Wednesday’s earnings call, he expressed the “firm belief” that the robot would bring more business to the company in future than its cars.

“I was surprised people did not realise the magnitude and importance of this programme. Those who are insightful or listen carefully will understand that Optimus will ultimately be worth more than the car business, worth more than FSD,” he said.

In January, the world’s richest man had described the robot as the most important product Tesla is developing in 2022, “more significant” than the company’s car business.

He had said that Optimus is built to serve as a general-purpose robot, though early versions will have limited factory-based applications.

“It has profound implications for the economy, given that the economy at its foundational level is labour,” Mr Musk had said.

It remains to be seen if a working prototype of the humanoid bot would be unveiled at some point this year as the billionaire had said.

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