One of Elon Musk’s unusual Tesla projects makes big strides

In Elon Musk’s effort to prove that Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report is more than just an electric-vehicle producer, the company’s robotics division released a video updating its progress on Optimus robot. 

The project, which Musk thinks could garner demand in excess of 20 billion units, has faced plenty of criticism since it was unveiled in 2021. That criticism increased after a disappointing Optimus showcase at Tesla’s AI Day in 2022. 

Related: Elon Musk is frustrated about a major SpaceX roadblock

The new clip features the robot sorting objects and doing yoga.

Optimus can now sort objects autonomously 🤖

Its neural network is trained fully end-to-end: video in, controls out.

Come join to help develop Optimus (& improve its yoga routine 🧘)

— Tesla Optimus (@Tesla_Optimus) September 23, 2023

“A car is a robot on four wheels and Optimus is a robot on legs,” Musk said during Tesla’s first-quarter-earnings call. “As we get closer to solving real-world AI, we don’t see anyone even close to us in achieving this. This is the thing that has order-of-magnitude potential improvement for Tesla.”

Tesla’s previous Optimus update came four months ago, when the car company released a minute-long clip showing a few of its prototype robots walking around, visualizing their environment and picking up things. 

At Tesla’s shareholder meeting in May, Musk said the “majority of long-term (Tesla) value will be Optimus. And that prediction I’m very confident of.”

His 20-billion-unit-demand prediction relies on his assumption that everyone on the planet would want at least one Optimus robot, and “maybe people would want more than one. It’s some very big number. And a number vastly in excess of the number of cars.” 

More Tesla news:

Tesla’s EV range is far from accurate (and that’s on purpose)Elon Musk explains final hurdle in Tesla’s Full Self-Driving techTop analyst believes Tesla’s business could bring in $20 billion a year by 2030

A number of prominent analysts and investors are beginning to regard Tesla as indeed more than just a car company. Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas and Wedbush’s Dan Ives are both bullish on the monetizable opportunities of Tesla’s software and services. 

Cathie Wood of Ark Invest is convinced that the company is on track to be trading at $2,000 a share by 2027, a valuation boosted largely by Wood’s bullish outlook on Tesla’s self-driving capabilities. 

When Optimus might be made available for sale and how much the robot would sell for aren’t yet clear.

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