The Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot the carmaker unveiled Thursday evening.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday unveiled a humanoid robot called the Tesla Bot that runs on the same AI used by Teslas fleet of autonomous vehicles. A functioning version of the robot didnt make an appearance during Musks reveal, though a slightly bizarre dance by a performer dressed like a Tesla Bot did. 

The unexpected reveal came at the end of Teslas 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 Teslas vehicles to sense the environment and will contain a screen to display information. Internally, it will be operating via Teslas Full Self-Driving computer. 

Its intended to be friendly, Musk joked, and navigate through a world built for humans.

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The robots appearance came after a 90-minute presentation detailing some of the artificial intelligence upgrades driving Teslas 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. 


Now playing: Watch this: Elon Musk unveils Tesla Bot


Three slides detailed the robots proposed specifications, and Musk made sure he pointed out that you could both outrun the Tesla Bot and overpower it. He has, in the past, railed against the use of robots as weapons and warned of the risks AI might pose -- once calling it the biggest risk we face as a civilization. I guess if theyre your incredibly slow, easy-to-overpower robots, the dangers are reduced.

We should be worried about AI, Musk reiterated during a question and answer session after the presentation. What were trying to do here at Tesla is make useful AI that people love and is ... unequivocally good.


One particular slide said the Tesla Bot would eliminate dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks, and Musk provided an example, suggesting the robot could be told to go to the store and get ... the following groceries. Not that such a task is particularly dangerous, but you might find it repetitive and boring.

Musk, prone to making bold statements about the future, riffed a little on how he envisions Tesla Bot changing the future of work, too. This, I think, will be quite profound, he said. Essentially, in the future, physical work will be a choice. If you want to do it, you can, but you wont need to do it.

Read more: No one knows when Tesla Bot will arrive. Here are robots you can experience now

Its hard to say how far off such a future might be, but theres a huge gap between showing off a few PowerPoint slides and delivering an actual, working humanoid robot. Its probably going to be a long while before you get your bread and milk via the Tesla Bot, but, Musk said, a prototype will likely be ready next year. 

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