The Newest Tesla Bots

Tesla’s all-purpose humanoid robot has been disappointing to this point, but new footage shows a flock of the robots walking, picking things up, and reproducing human actions.

“Tesla’s revealed a new video of its humanoid robot, Optimus,” said Verge, “and it shows a bunch of them walking together slowly but with less stumbling.”

Elektrek, on the other hand, described the video as “quite impressive.”

It is certainly a step up from the previous iteration.

Better than industrial robots?

How valuable is the new Optimus? It depends what you want done. The video continues to take the position that this is a machine with enormous potential. It can learn from human actions, it uses AI to improve its skills, and it can touch an egg without breaking it.

If you’re used to working with machines that can stack 36 boxes per minute, this robot might not be that impressive.

But the idea is that the purpose-built palletizer can only stack 36 boxes per minute. It can’t also put eggs into cartons, which Optimus might be able to do some day. We’re back to the debate on whether general purpose humanoid robots are in some sense — or will be at some time — better than purpose-specific industrial machinery.

“These robots promise to be unparalleled money printing machines when they’re up and running, eventually doing more or less any manual job a human could. From ancient Egypt to early America, the world has seen time and again what’s possible when you own your workers instead of hiring them,” said Los Blain at New Atlas. “And while we don’t yet know whether the promised avalanche of cheap, robotic labor will bring about a utopian world of plenty or a ravaged hellscape of inequality and human obsolescence, it’s clear enough that whoever makes a successful humanoid robot will be putting themselves in a much nicer position than people who haven’t.”

Combining industrial motion control with AI

Rexroth, the parent company of Indramat, has created the Smart Flex Effector, which won this year’s Hermes Award, to “giving robots a human touch.” The sensor-rich effector allows robots to do tasks like installing glass shelves in refrigerators, a job that humans have previously had to do.

We don’t think Optimus would be up to that yet.

Does it make more sense to add new capabilities to industrial robots, or to begin with a grander idea and work to create a “buddy” which can take over all physical labor from humans if things work out as expected?

Either way, exceptional motion control is required. Indramat made exceptional motion control systems. When Rexroth acquired Indramat, the skills and design capacity were taken on along with the brand. Rexroth continues to support many of the original Indramat components with factory repair and reman. We specialize in Indramat motion control systems and can help you get your facility back up and running when you need Indramat support and service. .