Tesla promised a robot. Was it just a recruiting pitch?

Tesla recruiting The presentation ended Thursday night when a person in a tight white suit, their head wrapped in black, walked onto the dark stage. Techno music sounded, and the person started in Charleston. The person made the running man. The person shook their shoulders and stretched out their arms in jazzhands. “Good. Thank you”, CEO Elon musk said 40 seconds of eternal appearance in the freestyle, cutting dance.

The person represented a robot, which Musk alternately referred to as You’re here Bot and Optimus (“sub prime,” he joked). Someday – “next year,” Musk said, the eternal optimist—A prototype of the robot will perform “boring, repetitive and dangerous” tasks. Musk said the bot would use the same artificial intelligence technology that may one day allow him cars to drive-Although today they are limited to simple tasks such as changing lanes and navigating parking lots. The robot would “have profound implications for the economy,” Musk explained. Then he got right to the point: “Yes, join our team and help us build this. “

Thursday’s AI Day presentation, webcast from a stage in Palo Alto, had all the attributes before the prime-time Tesla shows, which included crowds of fans, free-flowing booze, and numerous lighting gels. But AI Day was for geeks, for people who could make corporate technology work. Think of it all as a very chic job fair. By the second minute of the slide-laden presentation, Tesla AI director Andrej Karpathy was immersed in the kind of speech typically confined to college classrooms and corporate boardrooms, and posted a diagram of a neural network On the screen. Right after the robot’s debut, another slide made the message self-explanatory, pointing viewers to a webpage where engineers can apply for jobs. Still, nearly a million people watched the presentation on Tesla’s YouTube channel, despite the show ending after 11 p.m. ET.

Elon Musk said a prototype of the Tesla bot, codenamed Optimus, will be completed “next year.” He said he will be 5’8 “, weigh 125 pounds and move up to 5 mph.” If you can run faster than that, you’ll be fine, “he joked.

Courtesy of Tesla

In this way, AI Day could have been the ur-Tesla event, combining intelligent experimental technology with the bombastic silliness of a person in a robot costume, promoting a product that won’t exist for a while. . Tesla hopes this mix will help him refine one of the most difficult tasks of all: attracting AI engineers to a tight market.

We forgot the previous promises of previous presentations. Over two years ago, Musk said there would be 1 million Tesla robots on the road by the end of 2020. But Tesla’s cars still can’t drive on their own, and the technology relies on human drivers to oversee machine actions on the road. Meanwhile, a new advanced battery detailed for the first time during the Battery Day event last September has hit production slowdowns, Musk said on an earnings call last month, and may not be ready for a new Model Y launch later this year. This would further delay the cost cuts promised by Tesla and his long-held dream of a $ 25,000 electric car.

The presentation also dodged mention of a Preliminary investigation opened by federal regulators last week in Autopilot, Tesla’s controversial advanced driving assist feature. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported at least 11 incidents since 2018 in which Teslas on autopilot crashed into stopped police, fire or ambulance vehicles on the roads, killing one person and injuring 17. company driver warns that the system may not brake for stationary vehicles. Experts say these features are trained detect things that move, not things that are not in motion, in part to avoid false positives that could lead to sudden stops. If the investigation results in a recall, it could affect more than 700,000 S, X, Y and 3 models on the road.

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