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Elon Musk unveils 'Tesla bot', a humanoid robot that would be made from Tesla's self-driving AI

Elon Musk has said Tesla plans to build a humanoid robot during the company's AI Day. The CEO said the company hopes to develop a prototype for the robot by sometime next year.

A tesla sign in front of a building.

​Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the carmaker will be branching out into humanoid robots during the company's recent AI event .

At the event, Musk unveiled the "Tesla Bot," a 1.7 metre, 56 kilogram robot. He said the bot will have a screen where its face should be that will present information. The humanoid robot will also be capable of dead-lifting 68 kilograms and carrying about 20 kilograms, according to the CEO. Though, the bot will only travel about 8 kilometres per hour.

"We're setting it such that it is at a mechanical level, at a physical level, that you can run away from it and most likely overpower it," Musk quipped.

The bot will use Tesla's Autopilot software, according to Musk. It will be equipped with eight cameras that will feed into the neural network that Tesla has developed for its FSD software.

The neural network emulates the functions of the human brain inasmuch as it allows the vehicle to analyse its surroundings via cameras and determine what it needs to do when it encounters obstacles by identifying and labelling different routes and images.

"Our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels," Musk said. "It kind of makes sense to put that [the software] on to a human-like [form] as well."

Musk said the bot will be "friendly" and will ideally be used to perform repetitive and dangerous tasks. He added the real test will be how the robot can navigate through the world without being explicitly told what to do.

"There will be profound applications for the economy. In the future, physical work will be a choice," Musk said.

The CEO offered a visual representation of what he wants the robot to look like, but Tesla has yet to build a functioning bot. He said the company plans to have a prototype developed by sometime next year.

Musk said the robot fits seamlessly into Tesla's mission and will be built with many of the same materials the company uses for its cars.

"We're making the pieces that would be useful for [building] a humanoid robot, so we should probably make it. If we don't someone else will - and we want to make sure it's safe," Musk said.

While the Tesla founder did not give a specific deadline for the prototype's release, Musk is known for making big promises about future builds. At Tesla's last "Autonomous Day" Musk said Tesla would have "one million robotaxis on the road" by the end of 2020. However, the company has yet to release a fully autonomous car, as its current FSD software still requires a licensed operator to monitor the vehicle.


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