Elon Musk says ‘don’t forget my robots’ as Roadster, Semi and Cybertruck deadlines slip away

Tech

What’s more important to Elon Musk? A wildly successful company selling acclaimed electric vehicles or the sci-fi dream of a humanoid robot that doesn’t exist outside of a slide deck?

Well if you are familiar with Musk’s modus operandiUnsurprisingly, Musk has named the latter — a nonexistent robot — Tesla’s “key product development” in a recent earnings call. Discussing the company’s product map for the next few years, Musk noted that the Roadster and Semi (originally slated for 2020) and Cybertruck (first slated for 2021) would go into production.”hopefully next year” (emphasis ours) before smoothly shifting to talk out the Tesla Bot — a humanoid robotic concept unveiled by the company last August in the form of a dancer in a spandex suit.

Here’s the full quote, via a alpha search transcript of the conversation:

So, in terms of product priority, I think the most important product development we’re doing this year is actually the Optimus humanoid robot. This, I think, has the potential to become more important than the auto trade over time. When you think about economics, it is – the foundation of the economy is labor. Capital goods are distilled labor. So, what happens if you don’t really have a labor shortage? I’m not sure what an economy means at the time. That’s what Optimus stands for. So very important.

Now, some have interpreted Musk’s comment as meaning robot development at Tesla takes precedence over vehicles, which is a long haul. Instead, Musk seems to be speaking speculatively about the long-term significance of a robot capable of doing all the physical labor that humans can. Later in the conversation, he touches on the topic again, noting that in terms of names for the bot, “the Optimus name seems to stick internally at least, Optimus Subprime” (it’s a good joke!) and that ” the first use of the Optimus robots would be at Tesla as moving parts in the factory or something like that.”

Which one, sure. I don’t want to get bogged down in judging the credibility of certain claims about the Tesla Bot here. (I’ve outlined my thoughts before, and in short, I believe it when I see it.) But it’s worth noting that these kinds of comments from Musk have the advantage of foaming up Tesla-friendly headlines as they take the lead. cover up a confession that the actual cars it makes money from struggle to get out of the factory.

This isn’t necessarily a knock on Tesla or Musk for not sticking to deadlines (making cars is hard, and Tesla has, in fact, done a tremendous job of plugging itself in as a new player in the industry). But it reminds us that, while Musk likes to surround himself with veils of sci-fi speculation that boost both his personal mystique and market capitalization, he also runs a company that makes cars and that — right now — is struggling to keep up with it. make some of those cars.

Would a magical robot staff help with this problem? Of course why not! But Musk and co will have to invent one first – and without any of the aforementioned magical robots to help.

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