The Tesla humanoid robot released by Musk is amazing, but it may be just a joke

Musk has a tried-and-tested method for controlling the emotions of spectators.

At the domestic Model 3 delivery meeting a year ago, he jumped with excitement and quickly brought the atmosphere to a climax. In the recent Tesla AI Day, Musk repeated this behavior.

It's just that this time the "robot" actors danced.

The humorous dance can always deconstruct the seriousness of the activity, make people break away from the tight state, and get a moment of joy.

And Musk unexpectedly added a fire to the atmosphere of the scene-when the prototype of the dancing robot Tesla Bot was launched next year, the atmosphere took advantage of the trend to rise to the next level, and people continued to cheer.

But, is Musk's plan really reliable?

The launch of Tesla Bot next year is actually quite a "radical" goal

Musk's expectations for Tesla Bot can be seen from the robot's "measurement" data.

It is 5 feet 8 inches (about 172cm) tall, weighs 125 pounds (about 56.7kg), has a load capacity of 45 pounds, about 20kg, and can travel at a speed of 5 kilometers per hour. This data is almost the same as that of an average adult. .

What he wants to build is a robot similar to ordinary people to help people solve dangerous, repetitive, and boring tasks, such as helping people run errands to buy things in convenience stores, tidy up household items, and so on.

In Musk's view:

A car is a semi-intelligent robot with wheels.

At present, the auto-assisted driving system of Tesla Motors detects the surrounding environment through a system composed of cameras + radar + algorithms, and recognizes traffic lights, walking passers-by, driving cars, and so on.

▲Tesla’s visual perception system will 3D the video content collected by the camera to facilitate car recognition

In the Tesla AI Day event, Musk and related staff also demonstrated a more advanced feedback system. The car can not only collect block data through the camera, but also make a variety of predictions for oncoming vehicles, and then adjust Your own driving behavior ensures that the two cars will not collide.

Humanoid robots also need to recognize surrounding objects in order to complete tasks such as handling and cleaning. The requirements of the two are similar. Using the same core system seems to be a natural choice.

It sounds logical, but from Musk's plan to launch a prototype robot next year, this is undoubtedly another "radical" goal.

Even doing some simple housework means that Tesla Bot has strong recognition and processing capabilities, and there is no small difference between the specific recognition content and the car.

The environment where cars are used daily is urban blocks, highways, etc., while Tesla Bot is completely at home when doing housework, and it faces sofas and other household items. The environment and household items of each family will be different, and different combinations. The resulting extreme situations are almost limitless.

▲Home kits can be flexibly selected

Tesla Bot cannot yet provide automated driving assistance functions on mass-produced cars like cars, allowing a large number of customers to help the company collect various driving data during driving to train the car's perception system.

In this case, building a virtual environment training seems to be a necessary solution.

Prior to this, Tesla demonstrated a virtual urban transportation system based on the AI ​​chip Dojo, created in the cloud. It can help Tesla's automatic driving assistance system Autopilot training to cope with more extreme situations.

▲ The car's visual perception system needs to recognize pedestrians on the sidewalk

Obviously, Tesla Bot also needs a corresponding virtual training system to help it recognize different home environments, furniture items, and even react differently according to different situations. However, there is no real environment training like a car driving, and the training speed and the final recognition training result will eventually be weaker.

Secondly, compared with cars, Tesla Bot has some differences in human-computer interaction systems. Cars are equipped with a large central control screen, while Tesla Bot can only display information on the face screen, which means that it relies more on voice in terms of interaction.

▲ The face of Tesla Bot is actually a screen

In terms of understanding human language, all major voice assistants have already given answers, which can be used, but not particularly easy to use.

More importantly, the human response action system is far more complicated than car driving. In addition to direction and speed, it also needs to maintain balance, let alone jump and other finer movements. This is also the reason that biped robots have not been able to land commercially. one of the reasons.

Humanoid robots are not new, but commercial launches are still far away

Humanoid biped robots are not new. Before Tesla Bot, Boston robots conquered the audience by dancing. Also in August of this year, Boston Dynamics also shared a parkour video of the humanoid robot Atlas.

In a flash, two Atlas robots crossed one wooden box after another, and at the end of the video even came a standard backflip.

Such wonderful actions also won applause for it. The video playback volume quickly exceeded 6 million and the number of likes exceeded 190,000. However, even such a powerful Atlas, widely regarded as the world's most advanced robotics company, Boston Dynamics, is also The commercial plan of the humanoid robot Atlas has never been announced.

On the official website of Boston Dynamics, it is clearly stated that Atlas is a research platform that promotes technological development.

Why is this happening?

Technical limitations are the primary reason. Even the latest Atlas robots still require technicians to deploy in advance when completing parkour actions, and "teach" it some basic actions so that Atlas can make judgments based on the situation and what operations should be performed.

You must know that as early as 2016, Atlas was equipped with lidar that is common in new energy vehicles, and it is also equipped with corresponding recognition algorithms. However, it is still difficult for robots to understand actions and give feedback. It is difficult to apply to more fields.

Humanoid robots are limited in what they can do, and it is inevitably difficult to commercialize them. Even Boston Dynamics has sold itself several times. Google, Japan's Softbank, and Hyundai have all been the controllers of Boston Dynamics.

At present, the commercial products of Boston Dynamics are still products like the four-legged dog-shaped robot Spot. First, the four-legged design has better stability, and second, the relatively simple body shape allows it to adapt to the industrial environment.

▲Spot robot dog is used in oil production to check whether the equipment is operating normally. Picture from: CNET

Disney has found a suitable commercial application field for humanoid robots-"making" the characters in the movie. In April this year, Disney showed the latest progress of its fantasy studio. They created the character Groot in Marvel. Come out and try to make these robot actors become interactive facilities in the amusement park.

Since there is no ready-made solution on the market, Disney even invited LaValley, who built the first Atlas robot, and after nearly three years of research and development, finally created a robot actor Groot.

According to the video shown by Disney, the robot Groot seems to have really come out of the movie. Although the pace is not fast, it is very stable and even greets people.

But the Groot robot also has obvious limitations, such as the control line behind it, and only 45 minutes of battery life.

Disney also said that it will continue to study and will launch corresponding updated products in the future, but it is still unknown when people will see it.

From this point of view, although Tesla has a good accumulation in the field of sensors, AI recognition and even chips, it must surpass the Boston Dynamics Atlas robot within a year and realize the "humanoid robot that can do housework" as Musk said. It's still extremely difficult.

Don't expect too much from Tesla Bot

Radical propaganda has almost become Tesla’s tradition. From FSD (Fully Automated Driving System) to Tesla Boring Tunnel, and even this Tesla Bot, Musk gave a very grand Target.

This has brought great attention to Tesla and even Musk, and even formed a kind of religious worship. We mentioned in the previous article:

"By Maskism" is a new kind of personality cult. What they worship is not just Musk’s outstanding personal ability and outstanding resume, but the sense of mission created by Musk, environmental protection, exploration of outer space, and other projects. He is bound to the scene of "human progress". This sense of mission convinces his fans that supporting Musk is to stand with the noble human progress.

But not all ambitious goals can be achieved. During the final interview on Tesla AI Day, Musk's attitude towards autonomous driving became less radical, even saying:

I believe that cars in the future will certainly have autonomous driving capabilities, but do they need drivers?
Probably it is still needed, just like in the automobile age, horse-drawn carriages also exist.

The idea of ​​the Boring Tunnel to reach San Francisco from Los Angeles in half an hour also fell through. Now it is nothing more than a 1.29 km long car carrying tunnel.

More importantly, the cult of personality does not always bring positive results. Earlier, some people believed that Musk indirectly controlled the price of Bitcoin. At first, he advocated that Bitcoin attracted many people into the game. Later, he said that Bitcoin production is not environmentally friendly. The abandonment of Bitcoin caused the price to fall.

The Dogecoin case is more straightforward. Someone used Musk’s personality cult to construct a scam and used online advertisements to lure people to pay Dogecoin to a designated account, claiming that they would receive double Dogecoin rewards subsidized by Musk.

In fact, this is just a phishing advertisement, and people cannot receive double rewards. This also makes many people have doubts about Musk, he seems to be just marketing himself, marketing company.

Tesla Bot also attracted a lot of suspicion. The Verge even called it a joke in the article. In its view, this is just a way for Musk to distract people.

Some time ago, Tesla attracted the attention of American automobile safety regulators due to a safety accident, and even opened a safety investigation of Tesla's assisted driving system Autopilot.

Building a truly usable humanoid robot is far more difficult than imagined. Boston Dynamics has been developing the Atlas for 8 years since its first demonstration. Carnegie Mellon University electrical and computer engineering professor Raj Rajkumar also told Reuters in an interview. Express:

I can say with certainty that it will take 10 years for any company on the planet to run errands for you in a convenience store with a humanoid robot.

It is naturally a good thing to have a new company willing to invest in the field of humanoid robots, but it cannot be ignored that this is still an extremely difficult thing. Based on the over-exaggerated performance of Musk and Tesla in many previous projects, perhaps we There should be reservations about the Tesla Bot robot.

The picture of the title comes from: times of innovation

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