#1. Why Tesla, about the Tesla?
#2. Why a humanoid robot?
If you frame it in a certain way, it actually can make a lot of sense, but you got to break a few things down first to get there. So let's get there.
Tesla is a car company, we've seen their announcements, their factories, maybe we'll call it a vehicle company. They have trucks, they have a bunch of other stuff, but they have a factory that makes cars. So, they're a car company. But only like by a specific definition, it's actually pretty common to consider Tesla as a software company. Just because their software advantage and all of the things that they do with the software in their cars is so important to them. It's like they're a software company that make use of softwares to build electric cars. And so, when we compare to the Mercedes or the Audi or BMW, we can never describe those companies as software companies, but for Tesla, that's where their main advantage is. And so part of this software thing that they're doing is the self-driving project.
Self-driving (Auto-driving) Car
Now, aside from all of the massive missed time windows and overoptimistic promises and deadlines and things like that, their self-driving is currently, the most advanced in the world. And it's not because of high-resolution mapping or predetermined routes, it's because Tesla is using their sensors, or mostly cameras, and constantly scanning their environments and making thousands of little on the fly decisions in real time. And then, all of the miles driven with this autopilot in action is used to upload the data back to their servers and train the whole rest of the fleet. So this whole system is a constantly self-improving thing. The bigger it gets, the faster it can continue to get better. So this requires a lot of computing, a lot of horsepower to be frank, and a lot of smart code. And that's what Tesla has been really good at.
Tesla's A.I. Day
So Tesla had their AI day a couple days ago. You might not have heard about it, but they do this every year. They livestream a bunch of talks from Tesla's engineers about computer vision and how their neural networks have evolved over time and explaining their focus on making autonomous cars that rely on computer vision and their synthetic visual cortex. It's really great, lots of informative, complex stuff. And at this year's, they unveiled their new custom D1 chip, that's designed and built entirely in-house by a car company, which is specifically made to train Tesla's full self-driving algorithms based on driving footage even faster. And they're basically gonna be replacing all of their GPUs, that they're currently using to make this super computer designed to do computer vision machine learning. It's big stuff.
Brief Overview Of A.I. Day's Livestream
At some point during all of this, Elon comes on stage talks something about, to the effect of, Tesla is basically a robotics company. He said, "Tesla is arguably the world's biggest robotics company cause our cars are, semi-sentient robots on wheels."
And if you think about it, it's like, okay, obviously, Tesla builds cars, so we'll call it a car company. But like if it's Tesla's AI day and they were giving a presentation and they were trying to make as good show as possible for recruiting purposes, they called it robotics. So they tried to make sense robots that are on wheels. That's how you can get it to make sense mentally?
It's like, Self-driving cars is just one application of AI and computer vision and robotics, just to solve that problem. So that's what's happening.
There are a bunch of sensors- scans its environment and making a bunch of decisions based on that. And then trains the future versions of it, based on what happens. That's just what happens in self-driving cars.
Unvieling Tesla Bot
Then Elon right afterward said, "It can be makes sense to put that onto a humanoid form."
Everything About Tesla Bot
He says it makes sense to make these robots in a humanoid form. So at this point he unveiled Tesla robot, called Tesla Bot. It's a 5 feet 8 inch long with a weight of 125 pound, sleek-looking like black and white human-shaped robot with the face mask, with the screen on it. It's got hands with 10 fingers, it got feets, but with no toes. It's pretty slow, it has a max speed of five miles per hour so that you can outrun it. And then it can lift things up (up to 10 pounds) with the arms extended or it can deadlift to 150 pounds. It consists lots of cameras, actuators, and of course, the self-driving computer inside. So they're saying, it's gonna be easy to overpower or run away from, so that should never be a concern.
Main Purposes Of Tesla Bot
The purpose of this Tesla Bot, the thing that they kept saying over and over again on stage during the presentation and during Q&A's when they're asked about it, they kept defaulting to, it will be able to do tasks that are repetitive, dangerous, or boring, so that humans don't have to. And so, if you consider Tesla as a robotics company, then yeah, this makes sense.
The one example that kept giving over and over in their A.I. day presentation was grocery shopping. So, you know, you walk to the grocery store, you grab a cart or a basket and you pick out some items and put them in the basket. You know, you need a bunch of different peripherals and things to pull that off, and maybe a human-shaped robot would be fine for that.
Now we have to see, like as good as Tesla is with self-driving, a human-shaped robot to try to do things that humans are already good at? How long is it gonna take for that robot to actually get good at things that humans are good at?
Now we have to see, like as good as Tesla is with self-driving, can a human-shaped robot to try to do things, in that humans are already good at? How long is it gonna take for that robot to actually get good at things in that humans are good at?
Training Of Tesla Bot
Even if they do come out with it, Tesla right now is training their self-driving computers with billions and billions of miles of self-driving happening on the streets today, right? So the best way to get as much data about that as possible is to have it go out in the real world and do it. It's kind of genius actually, that they're making so many cars and people are really using it for them. But now, they're gonna be asking for a humanoid robot to go out and navigate the entire rest of the real world where there is an order of magnitude more stuff to identify and react to. I mean, on the streets, there's obviously other cars and trucks and buses, and it can identify motorcycles and bicycles and pedestrians even. And then, there's traffic cones and there's lights, and all the rest of the traffic control devices, construction zones, arrows on the road, that's almost it.
Now question is how well is the Tesla Bot gonna do when you ask it to go get bananas from the grocery store? Like how good could it get? Or if you ask it, "Hey, Tesla Bot, go grab my AirPods Max from downstairs," is it gonna be able to know that that's headphones or is it gonna have to have a model of every new pair of headphones, that ever comes out to be able to identify which one you're talking about? And all of this training has to come from real-world data, which would have to come from people using Tesla Bots in their homes and starting to get this going which seems a little less likely to me than people getting a self-driving car.
And then, there's just a whole bunch of other unknowns about this robot, too. What other colors will it come in? Will it come in matte black? How will it charge? Will it just sit on a USB port in the corner of a room every day? Will this ever even go on sale? And if it is even if this robot actually will go on sale then how much will it cost?
It could really just be Tesla exploring their computer vision in another form factor just like Boston Dynamics. It's just about Tesla becoming the best AI and computer vision company that they possibly can, and this being just one more avenue to get better at it. It's obviously something we've been fascinated with forever and will continue to be for a long time. And it could just be one more form factor that Tesla's exploring.