Tesla AI Day: As Elon Musk teases the Optimus robot, self-driving updates and artificial intelligence – here’s what to expect

  • Tesla is expected to unveil a prototype of its humanoid robot, Optimus, at AI Day tonight in Palo Alto, California 
  • The Elon Musk-led company is also going to update the public on self-driving, the company’s Dojo supercomputer and more 
  • The mogul has also said that people can expect ‘lots of technical detail and cool hardware demos’ at the event
  • Wall Street and tech-watchers will be looking for any clues about Tesla’s fiscal health as the automaker aims to close out the year strongly

After months of tweets and teases, Elon Musk is attempting to manage expectations ahead of Tesla’s AI Day tonight.

The tech company’s humanoid Optimus robot – teased at last year’s artificial intelligence event by a person in a spandex costume – is expected to be the star of the show. Tesla on Friday morning shared a short clip of a pair of robotic hands making a heart shape. 

The Tesla CEO said that people can expect ‘lots of technical detail and cool hardware demos’ at the Palo Alto, California event that’s being livestreamed beginning at 5 pm Pacific Time.

Whatever the state of the robot prototype, it has massive implications for everything from manufacturing to domestic life, the service industry, healthcare and more.

‘If you say, what is the economy? At the foundation it is labor. So what happens when there is no shortage of labor?’ Musk said onstage at last year’s AI Day. ‘Is there any actual limit to the economy? Maybe not.’ 

The tech company’s humanoid Optimus robot – teased at last year’s artificial intelligence event by a person in a spandex costume – is expected to be the star of Tesla AI Day. Tesla on Friday morning shared a short clip of a pair of robotic hands making a heart shape

Musk tweeted this week: ‘Note, this event is meant for recruiting AI & robotics engineers, so will be highly technical. As well as advanced chip & supercomputer engineers for next-gen training & inference.’

The world’s wealthiest person also replied to a tweet from someone who listed the following ‘predicted reactions’ to Tesla AI Day:

‘Media and analysts: ‘Disappointing, a distraction’. The masses: ‘Can I fk it?’. TSLAQ: Stock pump, Elon’s a fraud, also I’m a virgin and I hate myself’. AI/Robotics experts: (the sweat droplet emoji). $TSLA retail investors: (multiple sweat droplet emojis)’

Musk responded: ‘Pretty much. AI/robotics engineers who understand what problems need to be solved will like what they see.’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk (above) tweeted this week: ‘Note, this event is meant for recruiting AI & robotics engineers, so will be highly technical. As well as advanced chip & supercomputer engineers for next-gen training & inference’

Whatever state the robot prototype is in, it has massive implications for everything from manufacturing to domestic life, the service industry, healthcare and more

‘If you say, what is the economy? At the foundation it is labor. So what happens when there is no shortage of labor?’ Musk said onstage at last year’s AI Day. ‘Is there any actual limit to the economy? Maybe not’

Beyond the key topics below, and the ongoing legal saga over Musk’s desire to pull out of his planned $44 billion Twitter buyout, Wall Street and tech-watchers will be looking for any clues about Tesla’s financial health.

‘We think it will take a lot to divert attention away from the impending trial over Musk’s proposed acquisition of Twitter,’ Garrett Nelson, vice president of equity research at CFRA Research, told IBD.

‘We expect the updates to be longer-term in focus, but investors will listen for any clues regarding its Q3 results, such as whether it has been adversely affected by operational and cost issues similar to those disclosed by Ford last week.’

What do we know about Tesla Optimus?

Originally called Tesla Bot, Elon Musk announced the humanoid robot at AI Day in August 2021

The robot would stand 5’8 and weigh 125 pounds

It will move at 5 mph, deadlift 125 pounds and carry 45 pounds

Tesla Optimus will have human-like hands and feet and sensors for eyes

The bot will be ‘friendly’ to humans

Humans will also be able to outrun and overpower the robots if needed 

The robot will be able to perform tasks that are repetitive or boring, but could also serve as a companion 

Tesla is set to unveil a prototype of the robot September 30 at AI Day 

Optimus, also known as Tesla Bot

The humanoid robot, which is intended for industrial and domestic uses, will debut at AI Day September 30 after first being announced at AI Day in August 2021.

‘Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly,’ Musk wrote in the essay published in China Cyberspace magazine.

‘The Tesla Bot is close to the height and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk fast in small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for communication with people.

The CEO confirmed that he’s planning to focus on improving the bot’s intelligence and solving the problem of large-scale production after revealing a prototype.

‘Thereafter, humanoid robots’ usefulness will increase yearly as production scales up and costs fall. In the future, a home robot may be cheaper than a car. Perhaps in less than a decade, people will be able to buy a robot for their parents as a birthday gift,’ he said.

The Tesla bot, which would be 5’8 and weigh 125 pounds, is set to include the Autopilot computer used in the company’s electric cars, which will allow the humanoid to recognize real-world objects, although the robot will have its own customized sensors and actuators. 

It will also be able to ‘deadlift’ up to 150 pounds, carry 45 pounds, walk 5 miles per hour and have human-like hands plus visual sensors giving it the ability to ‘see.’

However, building a functional humanoid robot that integrates AI capabilities is exceedingly difficult, and it remains to be seen how Tesla has progressed.

‘We still have fundamental robotics technology gaps that need to be solved before we will see “human level’ anything,” Will Jackson, CEO of robotics company Engineered Arts, told The Verge. ‘Maybe Tesla [has] solved it — if they have, it will be an absolute game changer — however, it feels unlikely as it would be a great leap forward out of nowhere.’

‘We expect the updates to be longer-term in focus, but investors will listen for any clues regarding its Q3 results, such as whether it has been adversely affected by operational and cost issues similar to those disclosed by Ford last week,’ Garrett Nelson, vice president of equity research at CFRA Research, told IBD

Musk shared that Tesla’s AI team has a deadline of the end of this month for ‘actually smart’ summon and auto park, which are both part of the tech firm’s Enhanced Autopilot. ABOVE: An employee drives a Tesla Motors Model S, equipped with Autopilot hardware and software, hands-free on a highway in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Full Self-Driving Beta

Musk recently shared that Tesla’s AI team has a deadline of the end of this month for ‘actually smart’ summon and auto park, which are both part of the tech firm’s Enhanced Autopilot.

Summon is just what you think, the ability to have your Tesla come and find you from wherever it’s parked in a busy lot. While Autopark helps ‘automatically parallel or perpendicular park your car, with a single touch,’ per the firm’s website.

The company will provide an update on the North American rollout of FSD Beta, the overall development of the autonomous driving technology and what owners can expect in the next version that’s released.

‘FSD is a key part of the Tesla growth story over the next decade and this is a pivotal event … to lay out technology enhancements and improvements over the next year,’ Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a note previewing the event. 

At last year’s AI event, Musk unveiled the Dojo supercomputer chip, which delivers what the company has called breakthrough computational performance to power Tesla’s cars

On Thursday, Musk claimed the company’s Cybertruck will have capabilities on water as well as land. ‘Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rives, lakes and even seas that aren’t too choppy,’ the billionaire wrote on Twitter. ABOVE: The Tesla Cybertruck is seen at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles

The Dojo Supercomputer

At last year’s AI event, Musk unveiled the Dojo supercomputer chip, which delivers what the company has called breakthrough computational performance to power Tesla’s cars.

‘This was entirely designed by Tesla team internally. All the way from the architecture to the package. This chip is like GPU-level compute with a CPU level flexibility and twice the network chip level IO bandwidth.’ A Tesla engineer said at the time.

Tesla announced at the 2021 AI Day that its Dojo supercomputer will be powered by its in-house D1 chips

Now, Tesla is expected to use the Dojo system to train its own neural networks to perfect self-driving and potentially even make the technology available to other developers in the future.

Cybertruck

On Thursday, Musk claimed the company’s much-delayed Cybertruck will have capabilities on water as well as land.

‘Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rives, lakes and even seas that aren’t too choppy,’ the billionaire wrote on Twitter.

‘Needs be able to get from Starbase to South Padre Island, which requires crossing the channel,’ Musk explained.

He made a similar claim about the vehicle in 2020.

Early this year, it was revealed that Tesla had quietly removed the promise of 2022 production from its website, having originally pushed back the vehicle debut from 2021. 

Still, Musk seems committed to the futuristic, CGI-in-real-life vehicle.  

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