Tesla updated Optimus Bot production figures as the company continues to develop its first humanoid robot, offering an explanation why the number might not be as high as some expected.
A retail investor inquiry during Tesla’s Q2 2023 Earnings Call last evening requested information on production figures of the Optimus Bot, as well as an update on the progress of the capabilities of the robot after it was unveiled during AI Day in late 2021.
After issuing an update in May that showed a video of one Optimus walking and moving on its own and another needing human assistance, the project was definitely progressing. The nature of the robot’s hand movements, along with its ability to start navigating on its own, showed things were trending in the right direction.
However, no updates have been listed since the May video, and more concern regarding the number of units that are currently built surfaced last night during the call.
While Musk joked that 10 million Optimus Bots were active, he and other executives dismissed this with a chuckle before revealing the real answer:
“I think we’re around 5 or 6 bots…But it’s sort of — yes, there’s more every month. There’s a lot of interesting things about the Optimus bot.”
The small number of Optimus Bots that have been built is mostly due to the fact that Tesla ran into an issue with actuator supply, realizing that there is not a single company that can produce the correct device for the robot.
An actuator creates motion by converting energy and signals that go into a system.
Tesla came to the realization that there were no off-the-shelf actuators that “worked well” for Optimus.
“So, we’ve actually had to design our own actuators that integrate the motor or the power electronics, the controller, the sensors. And really, every one of them is custom designed. And then, of course, we’ll be using the same inference hardware as the car. But we are, in designing these actuators, designing them for volume production. So, they’re not just lighter, tighter, and more capable than any other actuators wherever that exists in the world, but it’s also actually manufacturable. So, we should be able to make them in volume.”
The first “sort of production candidate actuators integrated and walking should be around November-ish,” Musk added.
A production ramp of Optimus should occur shortly afterward, he said.
Optimus was unveiled nearly two years ago, and Tesla plans for it to complete monotonous and non-demanding tasks that humans find boring.
Quotes via Seeking Alpha