Watch: Tesla’s humanoid robots are walking like people now

It’s one small step for the Tesla Optimus, one giant leap for robotkind

Tesla recently shared a video of its humanoid bot, showing the bounds it has made (literally) since the first shaky prototype was revealed at the marque’s AI day last year.

The clip, which was presented by billionaire CEO Elon Musk at Tesla’s shareholders meeting on Wednesday, showed that there are at least five more refined Optimus droids capable of a range of tasks. Our “companions,” as Musk calls them, appear to be able to walk, pick up items, and use gadgets designed by Tesla.

The footage highlights not only the bipedal bot’s explosive leaping power but also how much control it has over movement. In one shot, the bot’s rubber foot comes down on an egg but gently stops just before breaking it. Optimus is also learning to accurately map and navigate the world around it by using the same Autopilot software from Tesla’s self-driving electric cars.

The video even shows how Optimus learns from humans. Essentially, operators wearing motion tracking suits and head-mounted cameras perform tasks and the robot replicates the movements. The goal is that the tasks will get increasingly complex. As per Tesla’s website, the bot will eventually be “capable of performing tasks that are unsafe, repetitive, or boring.” Musk has previously emphasised that the bot is friendly and intended to help humankind with the jobs we don’t want to tackle. He has also pointed out that humans could both outrun and overpower the bot.

Although engineers have only been working on Optimus for around a year, Musk expects it will be available in three to five years and could cost less than $20,000. He added that the bot could become more integral to the company than EVs. “My prediction is that the majority of Tesla’s long-term value will be Optimus, and that prediction I’m very confident of,” Musk said.

Optimus is certainly making some impressive strides for robotkind.

This story was first published in Robb Report USA