Tesla ramps hiring efforts for Optimus humanoid robot program

Credit: Elon Musk/X

Tesla shared a rather impressive update on its Optimus program over the weekend. In a short video posted on social media, Tesla demonstrated some of Optimus’ current capabilities, such as its self-calibration procedures and its ability to sort items using a vision-based system. 

Tesla also demonstrated how Optimus is now able to perform fluid movements, with the humanoid robot smoothly sorting objects and even doing some basic yoga moves. This was a notable improvement from the robot’s capabilities from the previous year, considering that Tesla’s in-house Optimus humanoid robot in AI Day 2022 could not even walk on its own feet. 

Similar to other videos, the Optimus update that Tesla posted on social media was an effort to recruit more people. A look at Tesla’s Careers page shows that the electric vehicle maker is indeed hiring a lot of staff for its Optimus program. From a simple search on Tesla’s Careers page alone, one could see over 50 positions open for the Optimus program, all of which are located in Palo Alto, California. 

The open positions for Tesla’s Optimus team span a variety of disciplines, with the company hiring software engineers, mechatronics engineers, robotics CAE engineers, embedded software engineers, robotic manipulation engineers, and joint control engineers, to name a few. The open positions hint that Tesla is hitting its pace with the Optimus program, and the company is set on growing its humanoid robotics team.

During AI Day 2022, Elon Musk mentioned that Optimus deliveries should be possible in as early as 3-5 years. That translates to around 2025-2027, which is very aggressive and optimistic considering the ambitious nature of the program. At the time, such a target seemed like it would be a typical missed estimate from Elon Musk. But considering the recent demonstration of the humanoid robot’s capabilities, perhaps a 2027 release for the robot might not be too farfetched after all. 

While Tesla’s Optimus program is still in its early days, one can immediately see that the progress of the humanoid robot has been nothing short of amazing in just a few years. Tesla initially announced Optimus during AI Day 2021. At the time, Tesla only had a man in an Optimus suit, a static model of the robot, and a CGI trailer. By AI Day 2022, Tesla had two working Optimus prototypes: one made with off-the-shelf parts that was capable of walking on its own; and one with custom-made actuators that could not stand yet. 

Needless to say, AI Day 2023 — if Tesla would hold one this year — would be very interesting. 

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Tesla ramps hiring efforts for Optimus humanoid robot program
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