Job ads from Tesla ( TSLA ) reveal that the electric car maker is doubling down on humanoid robots.
Reuters recently reported that the company is ramping up ambitious plans to develop the Tesla Bot, also known as Optimus, with internal meetings and hiring for about 20 positions, including software and firmware engineers, deep learning researchers, actuator technicians and internships.
“Tesla is on its way to building large-scale humanoid bipedal robots to automate repetitive and tedious tasks,” says a job ad for a mechatronics technician. “Most importantly, you will see your work repeatedly submitted to and used by thousands of Humanoid robots in our factories.”
Tesla outsourced most of the jobs under the Autopilot division, which is also working on deploying full self-driving capabilities for vehicles.
Elon Musk tweeted that the Autopilot team has “end of month deadlines” for both the Tesla Bot and Autopark projects. Earlier this summer, Musk teased that a prototype of the robot could be unveiled at Tesla’s AI Day on September 30.
Musk’s vision for the five-foot-eight, 125-pound Optimus extends beyond the production lines of Tesla factories. Finally, he sees an army of robots tasked with doing housework and care work in millions of households.
“This I think has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time,” Musk said on an earnings call in January.
However, some on Wall Street are skeptical.
Investors and Tesla enthusiasts are still waiting for the Cybertruck, due out in 2023 after several delays, as well as the company’s promise of fully autonomous vehicles. The EV maker expanded its Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta pilot to 160,000 Tesla owners as it scales its autonomous software program, though some have said the current $15,000 price tag isn’t worth its current capabilities.
Musk has also presented an automated robotaxi concept, which is scheduled to be announced in 2023 and enter production manufactured in 2024.
And with the deployment of robots on a large scale, there are other challenges in how to deploy them.
A number of companies have attempted to develop humanoid robots – Hyundai’s Boston Dynamics, Honda, GM and NASA, Ford, Softbank and others – although few projects have gotten off the ground.
According to Reuters, the robots have had trouble overcoming unexpected situations and completing tasks without a script, much like self-driving cars.
Grace is an associate editor for Yahoo Finance.
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