AI experts push Tesla's humanoid robot reveal: 'Next level of scary' - National |  Globalnews.ca

AI experts push Tesla’s humanoid robot reveal: ‘Next level of scary’ – National | Globalnews.ca

An early prototype of Tesla Inc.’s proposed Optimus humanoid robot. walked slowly and awkwardly onto the stage, turned and waved to a cheering crowd at an artificial intelligence company event on Friday.

But the basic tasks of the exposed-wires-and-electronics robot — like the later, next-generation version that had to be carried on stage by three men — were a far cry from CEO Elon Musk’s vision of a human-like robot that can change. world.

Musk told the crowd, many of whom may be hired by Tesla, that the robot can do much more than the audience saw on Friday. He said it’s also delicate and “we just didn’t want it to fall flat on its face.”

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Musk suggested that the problem with flashy robot demonstrations is that the robots “lack brains” and don’t have the intelligence to navigate themselves, but on Friday he provided little evidence that Optimus was more intelligent than robots developed by other companies and researchers. .

The demo didn’t impress AI researcher Filip Piekniewski, who tweeted that it was “next-level horrible” and “a complete and utter scam”. He said it would be “good to test the fall because this thing is going to fall a lot”.

“None of this is cutting edge,” robotics expert Cynthia Yeung wrote on Twitter. “Hire PhDs and go to some Tesla robotics conferences.

Yeung also questioned why Tesla opted for its robot to have a human hand with five fingers, noting that “there’s a reason why” warehouse robots developed by startups use two- or three-fingered pincers or vacuum grippers.


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Musk said Friday night was the first time the first robot took the stage without a handcuff. Tesla’s goal, he said, is to produce an “extremely capable” robot in large volumes — perhaps millions — at a price that could be less than the price of a car, he would estimate at less than $20,000.

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Tesla showed a video of an AI-powered robot that Tesla is testing in its “Full Self-Driving” vehicles carrying boxes and placing a metal rod into what appeared to be a factory machine. But there was a live demonstration of how the robot performed tasks.

Employees told the crowd in Palo Alto, California, as well as those watching via live stream, that they have been working on Optimus for six to eight months. People can probably buy Optimus “within three to five years,” Musk said.

The staff said the Optimus robots will have four fingers and a thumb with a tendon-like system so they can have the dexterity of humans.

The robot is supported by giant artificial intelligence computers that watch millions of video images from “fully self-driving” cars. Similar computers would be used to teach tasks to robots, they said.

Robotics experts have been skeptical that Tesla is close to launching legions of human-like home robots that can do the “useful things” Musk wants them to do — like make dinner, mow the lawn, watch over an aging grandmother.

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“When you’re trying to develop a robot that’s both affordable and useful, a humanoid shape and size isn’t necessarily the best way to go,” said Tom Ryden, executive director of nonprofit startup incubator Mass Robotics.

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Tesla is not the first car company to experiment with humanoid robots.

Honda introduced Asimo more than two decades ago, which resembled a life-sized space suit and was shown in a carefully staged demonstration to be able to pour liquid into a cup. Hyundai also has a collection of humanoid and animal-like robots through its acquisition of robotics firm Boston Dynamics in 2021. Ford has partnered with Oregon startup Agility Robotics, which makes two-legged, two-armed robots that can walk and lift packages.

Ryden said the automakers’ humanoid robotics research could potentially lead to machines that can walk, climb and overcome obstacles, but impressive past demonstrations haven’t led to a “real-world use case” that lives up to the hype.

“There’s a lot of learning that they get from understanding how humanoids work,” he said. “But as far as the direct presence of a humanoid as a product, I’m not sure that’s going to come out anytime soon.”


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Critics also said years ago that Musk and Tesla would not be able to build a profitable new automaker that used batteries instead of gasoline to power it.

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Tesla is testing “fully self-driving” vehicles on public roads, but they must be monitored by select owners who must always be ready to intervene. The company says it has about 160,000 vehicles on the road today equipped with the test software.

Critics say Teslas, which rely on cameras and powerful computers to drive themselves, don’t have enough sensors to drive safely. Tesla’s less capable Autopilot assistance system with the same camera sensors is under investigation by US safety regulators for braking unnecessarily and repeatedly crashing into emergency vehicles with flashing lights parked along highways.

In 2019, Musk promised to have a fleet of autonomous robotic axes in operation by the end of 2020. They are still being tested.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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