- Elon Musk says Tesla’s humanoid robot is the most important product it’s developing in 2022.
- Tesla is also working on the Cybertruck pickup, Roadster supercar, and Semi tractor-trailer.
- Musk said the robot project could be “more significant” than Tesla’s car business.
If you ask Elon Musk, the most significant new product Tesla is developing in 2022 isn’t the Cybertruck pickup or the Roadster supercar. It isn’t even a vehicle.
During Tesla’s earnings call on Wednesday, Musk said the company’s future humanoid robot — internally named “Optimus” — is the “most important product development we’re doing this year.”
Musk first unveiled the robot during Tesla’s AI Day event in August. The automaker intends for the 5-foot-8-inch, 125-pound machine to take over dangerous, repetitive, physical tasks from humans in the future. Optimus, also known as the Tesla Bot, will run on the same artificial-intelligence system that powers Tesla’s driver-assistance technology such as Autopilot, Tesla said.
On Wednesday’s call, Musk said the robot project “has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time.” He said the first application for the robot would likely be at Tesla, “moving parts around the factory or something like that.”
At its reveal, Musk said Tesla plans to have a prototype by sometime in 2022.
“The foundation of the economy is labor,” he said Wednesday. “So what happens if you don’t actually have a labor shortage? I’m not sure what an economy even means at that point. That’s what Optimus is about. So – very important.”
Musk’s comments may disappoint Tesla customers and investors who were eager to hear updates on the automaker’s long-promised future vehicles, like the Cybertruck, Roadster, and Semi heavy-duty truck. Musk said Tesla won’t be introducing any new vehicle models in 2022, because that would come at the expense of overall production volumes.
Tesla reported record quarterly profits for the final quarter of 2021, posting a net income of $2.88 billion for the quarter on $17.7 billion in revenue, figures which both topped analyst expectations.