Will Tesla Bots Be Able to Drive Cars?

Elon Musk recently showcased his plans for the Tesla Bot with the potential for relieving humans of menial tasks and unnecessary labor. While a little robot assistance in the workplace sounds impressive, some wonder if this robot will lead to behind-the-wheel tech. Is it possible that Tesla is on the verge of testing robots driving taxis, forklifts in warehouses, or even delivery services? Are we one step closer to an I, Robot future?

The official introduction of the Tesla Bot

A Nasa robot entering a Polaris vehicle to drive it
A robot driver entering a car | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When Elon Musk sets foot on any stage, the world listens. Recently, he garnered attention by announcing Tesla’s plans for a line of robots. The Tesla Bot will be a humanoid figure that uses artificial intelligence to perform designated tasks. This new invention will feature autopilot cameras and a display instead of a human face. Everything else on this Tesla robot will look remarkably human.

Tesla describes its autopilot and A.I. tech, which already exists in its vehicles, as the ongoing development designed to power these new Tesla Bots. Elon Musk says this new robot will be available in prototype form by as early as next year. However, as CNET reported, during this on-stage announcement, all fans caught a glimpse of was a “skinny guy in a onesie” posing as a robot figure.

Driving isn’t the Tesla Bot’s primary function just yet

Elon Musk enthusiastically promoted the Tesla Bot, sharing its primary function to eliminate the need for humans to perform tedious, physical, or dangerous tasks. Ideally, this creation will reduce work-related risks. However, Musk also said boring tasks, like buying groceries, will also be in this new bot’s wheelhouse of capabilities. As of right now, these Tesla Bots will not be able to drive. However, the robotic driver might be on the horizon with Tesla and others for future development.

The Washington Post used an infographic to share some of the Tesla Bot’s potential capabilities and stats. It will stand roughly 5 feet 8 inches tall and be able to carry about 45 pounds. It will be able to deadlift an impressive 150 pounds and an extended arm lift of 10 pounds. Apparently, this new humanoid assistant will also be mild-mannered and easy to overpower or run away from, you know, if you find yourself in a Terminator situation.

Advancements in recent robotic technologies

Robotics companies all over the world are continuing to make significant advancements, much like Tesla. Many of these innovations start by relieving human tasks, like self-governing vacuums. Amazon is exploring package delivery by drone. Malls are exploring robotics solutions for mall security. UBTECH is designing A.I.-powered disinfecting robots, and Samsung continues to develop A.I. household bots.

Analytics India Magazine recently highlighted some of the latest robotics tech consumers can expect to see. Oticon revealed its first A.I.-powered hearing aid, embedded with a neural network. LG introduced the CLOi robot, designed to disinfect surfaces autonomously. Even L’Oreal is getting in on the A.I. movement when it showcased its Rouge Sur Mesure, an A.I.-powered lipstick that can generate new shades at the direction of its holder.

The Tesla Bot may not yet be available as a prototype, so we’ll have to see if Elon Musk delivers on this promise. A humanoid robot is likely on its way to help with heavy lifting, repetitive work tasks, and maybe even a little grocery shopping. While these newly discussed bots won’t have programming for driving capability, they’re moving innovation one step closer to such a reality.

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