Tesla’s Musk Makes a Spectacular Promise. But Will He Deliver?

The CEO of Tesla has often made big promises. But he doesn’t always hold to them.

Elon Musk built Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report with spectacular promises. This is his strength, say his admirers. It’s his visionary side, they say, applauding.

But If he has kept some of these commitments, they were often not on time. It would be reasonable to say that the billionaire has almost always been late compared with the schedule he he’d laid out. 

And one of his key promises has yet to materialize: autonomous vehicles. Musk had promised that Tesla cars would be self-driving in 2018. 

“In ~2 years, summon should work anywhere connected by land & not blocked by borders, eg you’re in LA and the car is in NY,” the disruptor in chief said in January 2016.

Four years later, the electric-vehicle manufacturer continues to display the following warning on the webpage dedicated to full-self-driving, or (FSD, its driving-assistance system:

“All Tesla cars require active driver supervision and are not autonomous.” 

A Working Humanoid Robot in September?

Earlier this year the world’s richest man again promised that Tesla vehicles would be self-driving, this time by the end of 2022.

But it is another promise on the agenda that’s particularly noteworthy since it would revolutionize the daily operations at Tesla factories. 

Musk has just postponed the second edition of Tesla Day, dedicated to artificial intelligence to the end of September from Aug. 19.

The reason? Musk promises to present a working prototype of Optimus, a humanoid robot that will replace people in Tesla’s factories.

“Tesla AI Day pushed to Sept 30, as we may have an Optimus prototype working by then,” Musk wrote on Twitter on June 2.

If Musk delivers on his promise, it would be the first time he’s delivered on a commitment ahead of schedule. 

The billionaire had said in January that a prototype Optimus would be ready by the end of the year and Tesla planned to market it from 2023.

“I think actually the most important product development we’re doing this year is actually the Optimus humanoid robot. This, I think, has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time,” the tech tycoon said during the first-quarter-earnings call.

The latest news has energized the man’s tens of millions of followers.

“Will the Optimus prototype look the same (or at least very similar) to the display model at the Giga Texas opening?” asked David Lee, who says he’s a shareholder of Tesla.

“No,” Musk responded on June 3.

A few hours earlier, Musk had said that this event will be “epic”

“Tesla AI Day #2 will be epic,” the serial entrepreneur stated.

Big Bet

Last month, Musk said that this event was set for Aug. 19. The billionaire is risking big as he has struggled to convince the markets and the general public of the importance of Optimus.

“I was surprised that people did not realize the magnitude of the Optimus robot program,” the tech tycoon said last month during the earnings call. He was clearly annoyed.

“The importance of Optimus will become apparent in the coming years. Those who are insightful or listen carefully will understand that Optimus ultimately will be worth more than the car business, worth more than FSD,” Musk added, referring to Tesla’s full-self-driving assistance system, which costs $12,000 per car.

The Optimus concept is fueled by Musk’s desire to replace humans with robots in his factories. It was introduced in August 2021, during the first Tesla AI Day. 

Optimus looks like a human in a robot suit, nearly six feet tall and weighing 125 pounds. 

The Tesla Bot will use the same AI systems that helped power Tesla vehicles, Musk said at the time.

Optimus will assist with repetitive tasks around the factory, the company has said. Tesla wants to produce 20 million vehicles annually, compared to almost one million in 2021.

The humanoid robot could herald an era when “physical work will be a choice,” Musk has said. 

Ultimately, he said, it could mean “there will need to be universal basic income.”

In 2018, the billionaire said sometimes too much automation is a “mistake.”

“Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated,” the billionaire said at the time.

Related Posts

Union Capital Financial Group Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands, does not provide investment services inside the United States. The company only provides consulting, advisory and educational services.