Elon Musk unveils Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot that uses vehicle AI

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A "Tesla Bot" humanoid robot prototype. Image courtesy of Tesla

“It’s intended to be friendly,” the carmaker’s CEO joked.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday unveiled a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot that runs on the same AI used by Tesla’s fleet of autonomous vehicles. A functioning version of the robot didn’t make an appearance during Musk’s reveal, though a slightly bizarre dance by a performer dressed like a Tesla Bot did.

The unexpected reveal came at the end of Tesla’s AI Day presentation, with Musk providing few details about the slightly creepy, Slenderman-like robot beyond a few PowerPoint slides. The 5-foot-8-inch robot is expected to weigh in at 125 pounds and be built from “lightweight materials,” he said.

Its head will be kitted out with the autopilot cameras used by Tesla’s vehicles to sense the environment and will contain a screen to display information. Internally, it will be operating via Tesla’s Full Self-Driving computer.

“It’s intended to be friendly,” Musk joked, “and navigate through a world built for humans.” The robot’s appearance came after a 90-minute presentation detailing some of the artificial intelligence upgrades driving Tesla’s electric vehicles, including the Dojo supercomputer, which helps train cars to navigate city streets without human assistance. “It makes sense to put that onto humanoid form,” Musk said.

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