FB Pixel no scriptTesla showcases second-gen Optimus humanoid robot in Shanghai, eyes 2025 launch | KrASIA

Tesla showcases second-gen Optimus humanoid robot in Shanghai, eyes 2025 launch

Written by KrASIA Connection Published on   3 mins read

The latest version of Tesla’s Optimus was on display alongside over a dozen other humanoid robots at the recent World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai.

Tesla’s Optimus humanoid robot is catching attention once again with the introduction of its second generation at this year’s World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai.

Originally debuting in September 2022 under the codename Bumblebee, Tesla is now aiming to begin selling Optimus robots by the end of 2025, as stated by Elon Musk during an investor conference call in April, according to Reuters.

This target aligns with guidelines from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), which views humanoid robots as a “disruptive innovation” capable of spurring growth in China’s slowing economy, SCMP reported. The WAIC display suggests that Tesla’s plans are on track, although these robots are not expected to reach retail customers soon.

Elon Musk has previously suggested that each Optimus robot could eventually retail for around USD 20,000. A February 2024 report by Goldman Sachs supports this projection, noting that material and manufacturing costs have been lower than initially expected. While global analysts had anticipated a cost decline of 15–20% annually, the actual figure has been around 40%, resulting in a current price range of USD 30,000–150,000, closer to Musk’s forecast.

Despite the optimistic projections, current prices place humanoid robots in the same category as high-end retail machinery like automobiles, making them a considerable investment for most consumers unless compelling use cases are identified. For now, the most immediate applications for humanoid robots seem to lie in logistics, warehousing, retail, and manufacturing, where they could help address labor shortages and improve efficiency. Tesla plans to deploy Optimus robots in its manufacturing processes post-rollout.

Tesla won’t be short of competition in this burgeoning segment. Over a dozen other humanoid robots were on display at the 2024 WAIC, including Qinglong, a full-sized robot with a bionic torso and anthropomorphic motion control. Unveiled by the National and Local Co-Built Humanoid Robotics Innovation Center, Qinglong stands approximately 1.8 meters tall, weighs around 80 kilograms, and features 43 degrees of freedom (DoF) with a joint peak torque of 400 newton-meters (Nm) and computing power equivalent to 400 tera operations per second (TOPs). During the conference, the robot demonstrated its capabilities by performing various desk cleaning tasks following voice instructions.

Other players in the field include Xpeng Motors, which showcased its PX5 humanoid robot with robust maneuvering capabilities in October last year, and Agibot, a company founded by a former Huawei executive, which is developing the Expedition A1 robotic household assistant with backing from investors like BYD and Warburg Pincus.

Tesla’s development of humanoid robots is being closely watched by the market. At the recent shareholders meeting on June 13, Musk referenced the droids from Star Wars, suggesting that the idea of each person owning a C-3PO and R2-D2 is appealing. Extrapolating from this concept, he envisioned a future where humans own two robots each, estimating that Optimus could become a USD 20 trillion business, assuming global demand reaches a billion units and Tesla captures around 10% market share.

While Musk’s vision for Optimus is ambitious, it has helped Tesla garner significant market interest. Factoring in the company’s humanoid robot developments, Ark Invest, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) manager run by prominent investor Cathie Wood, expects Tesla’s stock price to reach USD 4,600 by 2026, over 18 times the current price as of market close on July 5.

However, the long-term viability of Optimus will ultimately hinge on reducing manufacturing costs to as low as USD 10,000 per unit, half the target retail price.


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