The event began with the presentation of a functional prototype, a project announced for the first time back in 2021 on Tesla AI day; on this occasion two working prototypes were seen on stage. The first, called Bumble C, is the first version of the robot and was developed with "semi-standard" systems: it served as a test bed for the first Tesla prototype developed with self-developed parts.
During the presentation, this model basically walked on stage and greeted the public. But at the same time Tesla showed some images of the robot doing a lot more complex work in the laboratory inside the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, with a less aesthetic but more functional prototype. For the design part, Tesla has shown a prototype halfway between the humanoid-looking one of 2021, and the yet unfinished model of 2022. This robot version, according to Elon Musk, will be able to walk in the coming weeks, and will also be a design more similar to the one that will be finally seen when it enters full-scale production.
One of the most important points last night was that Elon Musk indicated that unlike other robots on the market, this one will be the first actual volume production model. Optimus will work with artificial intelligence that has been developed primarily for the self-driving technology in Tesla cars. Elon Musk believes that Tesla will be able to take advantage of all this work and experience, so as to allow the robot to navigate the real world and perform very useful tasks.
Optimus is basically a product that its designers within Tesla believe can bring about a "fundamental change in civilization as we know it", by virtually "ending poverty" through improved economic output when widely used in industry. As for logistics, the basic concept is that, with Tesla's own in-house development, with mass production figures and with the use of technology that has already been partially developed by Tesla software engineers, it is hoped they will be able to produce a fairly affordable model. A robot that Elon Musk indicated is expected to hit the markets for around $20,000, with production due to start in 2023.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.