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Elon Musk Just Debuted Tesla's First Humanoid Robot: 'A Fundamental Transformation for Civilization As We Know It.' A prototype called 'Optimus' walked on stage at Tesla's 2022 AI Day presentation. Musk expects to sell the bots for under $20,000.

By Jonathan Small

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A prototype of Tesla's humanoid robot named "Optimus" took the stage tonight for the first time as part of Tesla's 2022 AI Day presentation.

With techno music blaring and disco lights flashing, Optimus strolled, albeit carefully, towards the audience and lifted its arms in what appeared to be a "raise the roof" gesture.

Dressed in a futuristic black leather jacket and black pants, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk revealed that "this is literally the first time the robot has operated without a tether."

Musk then explained that the robot could do much more than walk around the stage and wave.

"We just didn't want it to fall on its face," he joked.

A video revealed the robot lifting boxes, watering plants, and doing odd jobs around Tesla's Fremont factory.

Musk then introduced another version of Optimus, which is further along in the development stage and closer to the model that will go to market. Although this bot wasn't ready to walk yet, it has actuators, a battery pack, and a control system taken from Tesla's cars.

Musk said this robot will be able to move all its fingers independently and have opposable thumbs, allowing it to hold and operate tools.

"Our goal is to make a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible," Musk said.

Like the Tesla cars, he hopes to make them at high volume and low cost. Musk said this is what will ultimately differentiate his humanoid robots from competitors.

He predicted making the Optimus in "millions of units" at a cost of "less than $20,000."

"It'll be a fundamental transformation for civilization as we know it," Musk said.

Related: Elon Musk Might Not Respond to Your Texts, Even When Offering Him Billions — And Other Fascinating Moments from the Twitter Court Case Text Dump

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

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