After the Apple keynote, September will end with Elon Musk’s show. This Friday, September 30, the American billionaire will indeed take the stage on the occasion of Tesla AI Day, an event which aims to highlight the advances of the manufacturer of electric vehicles in terms of artificial intelligence.
However, it shouldn’t just be about driver assistance features that should make it possible to get closer to fully autonomous cars. Thus, Tesla vehicles should be somewhat overshadowed during Elon Musk’s presentation by innovations in robotics. At last year’s Tesla AI Day, the whimsical entrepreneur said that “Tesla is arguably the biggest robotics company in the world because our cars are semi-sentient robots on wheels”. He had concluded that he was therefore “logical to put this in humanoid form”.
In 2021, these words were illustrated during Tesla AI Day by the presentation of the supercomputer Dojo, which trains its neural networks, and a preview of the Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot intended to perform general tasks and repetitive work. These two AI projects from the manufacturer should once again be at the heart of this 2022 edition. At the start of the year, Elon Musk had also assured on Twitter that Tesla could become more involved in artificial general intelligence (AGI ), given the progress made with Optimus, codename of the Tesla Bot project. A posture that goes against his previous statements where he regularly warned against the creation of artificial superintelligences and warned of the inherent risks.
Optimus, the humanoid robot of all fantasies
Visibly more comfortable now with work in artificial intelligence, the boss of SpaceX could therefore take advantage of Tesla AI Day to present the humanoid robot Optimus, a name which refers to the main character (Optimus Prime) of the films transformers. The machine should be the star of the event, hoping for Elon Musk that he does not relive the awkward scene of the presentation of the Cybertruck pickup in 2019 during which the windows of the vehicle were broken during an inconclusive test with a bocce ball…
To avoid repeating such a mishap, the Tesla AI Day has been postponed for a month, so as to leave enough time to come up with a working prototype. Elon Musk has already promised that this Tesla Bot would be “friendly”with some “human level hands”of the “Autopilot cameras” for the eyes and a “fully self-contained computer” for the brain, reminds The Verge. This concentrate of technologies should eventually allow robots to enter homes so that they can prepare dinners, mow the lawn, take care of the elderly or even become a sexual partner!
It’s still science fiction, but if the prototype is satisfactory, there is talk of starting production of Optimus in 2023. “Experts note that no company in the world is close to building a robot with the same mobility and dexterity as a human”however, notes The Vergewho notes that even Boston Dynamics, which makes one of the most advanced bipedal robots in the world, still hasn’t succeeded.
Dojo vying to be the most powerful supercomputer in the world
In addition to this humanoid robot, Elon Musk should give news of the advances made with the Dojo supercomputer. This machine, which trains AIs to make them completely autonomous, now processes all video streams from more than a million Tesla vehicles equipped with cameras. Elon Musk claimed that Dojo would be able to reach a computing power of an exaflop, or a billion billion (10 to the power of 18) calculations in 1 s.
But in the race for the world’s most powerful computer, Tesla is not alone. Many players are trying to exceed the symbolic threshold of the exaflop, like the Frontier of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory which crossed this bar in the United States earlier this year, with a power of 1.1 exaflop for be precise. It would take the entire world population four years to complete such an operation.
When completed, Dojo should be among the most powerful supercomputers on the planet. But instead of performing advanced calculations in areas like nuclear and climate research, Tesla should continue to use them to improve its AI software powering its self-driving cars. However, Musk said his company would make Dojo available to other companies that want to use it to train their neural networks.
New broken promises for fully autonomous Teslas?
Finally, what would a Tesla AI Day be without talking about self-driving cars? This theme is all the more important since Tesla recently indicated that more than 160,000 drivers in the United States and Canada use its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta system, which does not however allow vehicles equipped with this device to to be totally autonomous, as its name might suggest. In reality, this system, which Tesla owners can afford for an extra $15,000, is the service that should one day provide fully autonomous driving capabilities.
But for now, this device only offers level 2 driving assistance, which means that the driver must remain fully focused at the wheel to immediately regain control of the vehicle if necessary. In addition, several vehicles from the American manufacturer are involved in various accidents caused by failures in its semi-autonomous driving system.
Elon Musk has been promising the arrival of driverless cars since 2016, but this promise is still not kept. In 2019, the billionaire had notably promised that there would be a fleet of one million Tesla robotaxis by 2020, but this is still pending. Since then, Elon Musk has updated his goals by promising fully autonomous driving as early as this year and the mass production of robotaxis without a steering wheel or pedal by 2024. After words, we expect action. Consequently, the innovations and promises presented by Elon Musk this night will be taken with great tweezers…