No, Daft Punk Isn’t Back — That’s Tesla’s New Robot

Elon Musk's proof of concept? A person dancing around in a robot suit.

On Thursday, August 19, Tesla's AI Day presentation included the announcement of the Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot that Elon Musk says will perform basic tasks
Tesla debuted a humanoid robot at AI Day. Well, a person in a robot suit at least.

In theory, Tesla’s strategy in recent years has been one of expansion. Did you like their electric cars? If so, get ready for the Cybertruck. Do you like their commitment to EVs? If so, perhaps you’d also be taken by their solar panel technology. All of which begs the question of where the company might go next. As part of their AI Day presentation Thursday night, Elon Musk made a bold declaration — namely, that the company was working on an artificial intelligence initiative called Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot that uses the same tech as the company’s vehicles.

It’s not a hugely surprising direction for the company. And besides, why should Boston Dynamics have all the (potentially terrifying) fun? But while the design of the Tesla Bot looks like the offspring of Daft Punk and the Greendale Human Being from Community — which sounds about right — the general public will have to wait a little longer to see the robot in person, with a prototype slated for next year.

During the presentation, Tesla provided attendees with the next best thing: a person dressed as Tesla Bot, who proceeded to break into some frenetic dance moves. Was it strange? It sure was. There is absolutely no way this won’t be turned into several years’ worth of memes. (Anyone else getting Cybertruck reveal flashbacks?)

For those looking for more actual data on Tesla Bot, and what it’s supposed to accomplish, CNET’s Jackson Ryan has a good overview of the announcement. The robot is slated to run on the same AI system that the automaker uses in its cars. It’s designed to stand 5′ 8″, weigh 125 pounds and potentially take over human tasks that are dangerous, repetitive or boring. “It’s intended to be friendly, and navigate through a world built for humans,” said Musk.

Let’s hope that the androids don’t get access to the technology behind Musk’s Boring Company tunnels; that’s a dystopian science fiction narrative just waiting to happen.

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