Elon Musk’s Optimus humanoid robot has been getting headlines for a couple of years now. They’ve been getting increasingly pessimistic, though, and the latest stories don’t change that trend.
Musk joked, during an earnings call, that 10 million Optimus bots were active. There were chuckles all around before he admitted that there were actually just a handful.
5 or 6 Optimus bots
The real answer to the investors question, it turns out, m is that there are only 5 or 6 Optimus bots in existence. Later, he allowed as how some examples should be “walking around” in November or so.
The delay results from the fact that Tesla is having to build bespoke actuators for the Optimus robots. None of the off-the-shelf options worked well.
“There’s not a humanoid robot that can do something — the things that human could do,” said Musk. “In terms of when we’ll be able to do some useful things, like we’ll first be trying this out in our own factories and just proving out its utility, but I think we’ll be able to have it do something useful in our factories sometime next year.”
Musk quickly segued to a suggestion that Optimus technology could lead to robotic arms and legs for amputees.
Optimus is out and about already, but not as a robot. Nonfunctional versions of the Tesla bots — mockups, as one observer put it — are in retail stores, where they are serving as visual merchandising for Tesla vehicles.