By on August 20, 2021

Tesla announced at its AI Day that it plans to build a humanoid robot.

It’s apparently not a joke, despite the fact that the company used a human dancer in a Spandex suit as a stand-in for the real robot.

The bot, which apparently stands 5’8” and can carry up to 45 pounds, is called Tesla Bot. It will also use the same computer that powers Tesla’s Full-Self Driving system (which, again, isn’t actually full-self driving, no matter what it’s called), so expect it to walk into plenty of light poles.


Shots at FSD aside, the bot is supposed to be able to do repetitive and boring tasks, along with boring ones. Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned using the robot to get groceries, though while that task is menial and usually boring, it doesn’t strike me as dangerous. Unless you’re trying to walk across the parking lot of my local store. Ba-zinga!

Add this to Hyundai’s ownership of Boston Dynamics and its terror bots, and it seems clear that automakers seem to see robotics as a potential growth area.

Have these folks not seen the Will Smith vehicle I, Robot? Or that one Simpsons episode? Not to mention, if we can’t get cars to drive themselves, what makes us think a Tesla Bot will pick the right produce for us?

I’m being a bit snarky here — there probably are legit applications that could benefit companies and consumers. For one thing, I can see humanoid robots assisting in the manufacturing of vehicles. Imagine a world where a Tesla Bot does some of the more dangerous tasks on the assembly line. Or does some of the tasks that cause humans to suffer injuries from repetitive motion over the long term?

Of course, Tesla being Tesla, the presence of the spandex-clad dancer led to lots of jokes on the Tweet machine. And there are legit concerns that the company will be able to deliver a prototype bot by the promised time of “sometime next year.”

We shall see what happens. For now, though, we’re amused by the presen — I mean, we’re really hoping to see a glorious robot future, in which we puny humans can spend our worthless lives pursuing leisure since our intellectual capabilities far pale in comparison to our robotic friends.

I swear I totally didn’t write that last bit with a Boston Dynamics robot staring at me, demanding compliance or death. Not at all.

[Image: Tesla]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

76 Comments on “Welcome the New Robot Overlords: Tesla Announces Plans for Robot...”

  • avatar

    The stonks experts will eat it up, as will Tesla fans who dismiss things like production cars killing people while on AutoPilot. The robot will not be delivered (like the Cybertruck) at all as promised or on time, but that will make no difference at all.

    The flim-flam must continue.

    • 0 avatar


      Tesla/Musk> Agreed.

      Story Suggestion. Where is all the electricity going to come from for BEV cars.
      3600Kwh = 12,000 miles
      Going 100 % BEV in 2030 or 2035

      16,0000,000 cars sold per year.
      USA generating capy is 1.2 billion KW.

      AND most of that is NUKE, Natural gas and coal (60%). All things the democrats want to kill off.

      Simple Math shows a massive problem.

      • 0 avatar

        “Where is all the electricity going to come from for BEV cars.”

        Yes, all of us EV hippies thought of that:
        Yes, EVs are good for the power plant business. No, it doesn’t make them a bad idea.

        And the emissions:
        Same as above.

        This stuff has been in the electric car FAQ for decades. Just because the question is new to you doesn’t mean it’s new to the rest of us.

        • 0 avatar

          Putting on my thinking cap.

          What’s going to happen is governments will mandate EVs before the power supply can support it.

          Then we’ll have several years of brownouts or power cuts while waiting for plants to be built. Little modern energy crisis of the electric variety. Skyrocketing rate surges during peak hours, etc.

          Said plants will only be the environmentally-friendly kind like wind, nuclear, solar. Once in place there’s enough energy, but the rate charges by time of day stick around.

          • 0 avatar

            No one needs electricity at night since it’s dark out anyway. Charge your robot and Tesla during the day when the wind blows (maybe).

        • 0 avatar


          You sure showed me. Spanked me even. I m so sorry. How can i make it up to you. Pretty please?

          Every 8,000,000 cars (!/2 of what is sold per year.)
          Will require 28 billion in new kW generating capy. That is more than the max capy NOW.
          So, you are saying the usa will build the equalivalent – todays generating capy -every year going forward. For every 8,000,000. (in good years 18,000,000 cars are sold)

          It doesnt add up. And wont happen.
          You can pave the whole country will solar cells and capy needed wont be met.

          Cars get charged at night. Wind dies down at night. Oh – use back up batteries. Pump water during the day and use gravity at night.
          These Rube Goldberg ideas will work. But electricity will cost $0.60 /kWh.

          I like coal. 98% clean when burned here. But we ll shut that down. And China will buy it and burn it at 100% dirty.

          Like all good communists. We solved that problem – next !

          • 0 avatar

            A few solar panels on your house and you’re good to go. There’s no need to fight electric cars.
            Those same old lame Luddite arguments look sillier and sillier as time goes on.

      • 0 avatar

        ““Where is all the electricity going to come from for BEV cars.”

        From nuclear fusion. There was a breakthrough recently. May be in 10 years we will have commercial fusion reactor.

      • 0 avatar

        Because nothing will change – it is all going to remain static while EVs flourish. Even as renewables are the largest growing employment sector, and a the fastest growing energy sector.

        That’s the solid thinking MAGA is famous for, right after: “Gee, I guess I should have gotten vaccinated…” followed by: “Nurse, please note the time of death.”

    • 0 avatar

      One more thing that Musk can distract with, and then not do.
      And hey, you’ve already forgotten about the roadster and the semi and the solar shingles and the robo-taxis and the solar powered mega-chargers and coast to coast FSD and the Cybertruck – too soon?
      You’ll forget about Tesla Bots soon enough.

      • 0 avatar

        “And hey, you’ve already forgotten about the roadster” It’s delayed by the availability of 4680 batteries and higher priority vehicles. They’re making the right decision not to expend resources on it right now.

        “and the semi” It should be in production this fall. Again, 4680 battery manufacturing ramp-up. Getting new battery technology into production isn’t easy and even toyota is struggling with it.

        “the solar shingles” What? They’re available to order and one of my neighbors just had them installed. They’re a bit pricier than the panels.

        “the robo-taxis” yeah, I’m not holding my breath on that one.

        “and the solar powered mega-chargers”
        Are you talking about the 100 stall supercharger site at Harris Ranch or the Semi megacharger of which the first is now being installed at Frito Lay on 600 Garner Rd in Modesto in preparation for the deliver of their trucks.

        “coast to coast FSD” That’s actually something not only autopilot could probably do, but I suspect GM and Mercedes systems might be able to do it as well.

        “and the Cybertruck” Cybertruck is proceeding. Just saw new patent filings with drawings and it looks the same. Three individual bucket seats across the front. Don’t know if the prototype had that. The patents were related to the laser bending process for the glass.

        Seems to be an awful lot of trouble to got through for something they allegedly are not going to produce.

        “You’ll forget about Tesla Bots soon enough.”

        They are serious about building it. I know first hand because they have approached me to work on the design and some other projects as well. It is for real. Doubt I’d do it because I favor a different AI architecture and technology that I think is better and I doubt I can convince them to do it my way.

        • 0 avatar

          Your reply was expected because you’re a huge Tesla cheerleader.
          And when you say that FSD can drive coast to coast you know perfectly well what I mean, and it can’t, and Tesla continues to sell something they are not capable of delivering – they don’t know how to build a Level 5 system because they’re not smart enough to do it. They thought they were, but it took them a while to realize just how ill equipped they were to solve such a problem. Tesla’s FSD is a system that can be completely fooled by a paint brush a-la Wile E Coyote and mistakes the moon for a traffic light. Just some of the many reasons why we’ll have no robo-taxis. But there were people stupid enough to believe Musk when he tried to pump the stock and sell people on the idea of automated driverless Model 3’s, driving around in 12-18 months, earning you money while you slept as Elon Said. Imagine being that stupid…
          Other things like a semi (possible to build) are still failures because they don’t make economic sense. Perhaps some abbreviated short range electric delivery vehicle will come into existence – but that’s not what was hyped. What was hyped was full scale super efficient solar powered over the road trucking. Not happening.
          Being an economic success is the definition of success in business.
          Which is why there are no semis, how many years has it been? The solar shingles are possible to build, but they cost too much and are an economic failure. And Tesla didn’t invent them, but you knew that. Economic, business failure. And the Boring company won’t be building any hyperloops either – I had forgotten about that one, see? I don’t care if they manage to build one prototype semi-hyperloop – economic failure, business failure. And the cyber truck – as presented – is a total economic failure and a disaster of design, and just a really bad idea but it’s just plain stupid. It will never be street legal – as designed. Now, if Tesla chooses to build another truck, a different truck, and call it a cyber truck, well, that would be different. They could build the new roadster if they chose. It wouldn’t fly or anything, or have the claimed range, but they could build a super duper electric 2-seater. The prototype looks kind of dull now, unexciting. They built a Plaid S instead, which was easier. The roadster was over hyped and they boxed themselves into a corner so the real car will disappoint – they won’t build it.
          From what science fiction book will Elon draw inspiration next? What about the spandex robot? Will it obey the three laws? Will he steal them from Asimov and present them as his own?
          How about time travel? Why not? It’s not like he’s going to actually do it, he’s just going to talk about doing it. That’s the whole point.

          • 0 avatar

            “Your reply was expected because you’re a huge Tesla cheerleader.”

            Huge Tesla cheerleaders don’t criticize them the way I do. I criticize the quality and the fsd system, and the way they treat independent shops and salvage vehicle owners.

            “other things like the semi.” “…are still failures because they don’t make economic sense. ”

            Actually it does. But only with the 4680 batteries that have been the holdup. Those batteries are light enough to allow it to carry the same load. In addition to the battery tech, BEV trucks are allowed to weigh up to 2,000 lbs more. The product is late because of the batteries which involve new manufacturing techniques. Mass production is not easy to do.Every battery maker including Toyota is having a tough time bringing their new battery tech to mass production.

            “The solar shingles are possible to build, but they cost too much and are an economic failure.” They are in production and I’ve seen an installation. They do cost more, but when you factor in that you’re getting a new roof too, it’s not as bad.

            “. It will never be street legal – as designed. ”

            So, you stick on a couple of mirrors and you’re good to go. Don’t need to do an entire redesign to add mirrors. What’s the big deal?

            “the real car will disappoint – they won’t build it.”
            You don’t know that. Every indication is that they will. It’s the 4680 battery production that is the gating factor. I’m sure the performance won’t disappoint, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it had cheap plastic on the interior like the plaid and crappy paint like the plaid. You buy the roadster and the plaid for the performance. Multimillion dollar car performance for a fraction of the price. Expect some compromises. Personally, I’d probably go with an EQS over a Plaid because of my own prioritization of performance over interior materials, but that extra quality is going to cost $30k more. Hmm, I could probably ignore the plastic and wrap the car to hide the paint for the price difference.

            “And the Boring company won’t be building any hyperloops either”

            Not sure that is their goal. They built the prototype and Vegas’ system is in operation now.

            “From what science fiction book will Elon draw inspiration next? ”

            Maybe something crazy like rockets into space? Be we know only competent companies like Boeing can deliver solid reliable products like the CST on time. Musk will never get to space, just talk about it. That’s the whole point.

    • 0 avatar

      Can you get this thing to drive your Tesla for you?

    • 0 avatar

      Hey all you Grumpy Old Men (like Corey Lewis) and Technophobes, I stumbled across this slice-of-life from 1960. Take a look and see if you really want to go back:

      All the styling greatness from the 1950’s (if you’re into that sort of thing), with no pesky unreliable electronic engine management systems or performance-sapping emissions controls or uncomfortable Nomex suits. Bias-ply tires and drum brakes at all four corners. Back when racing drivers gave morticians a steady stream of business.

      [The women don’t fare very well (but from the comments further down this page, do we really care?)]

      • 0 avatar

        Not really grumpy, just against companies which repeatedly lie / are fraudulent.

        If this were any other company, it wouldn’t get away with these stunts. But there’s a little personality cult around this one in particular and it’s creepy.

        • 0 avatar

          You didn’t watch the movie, did you.

          You aren’t really grumpy – are you slightly grumpy? Occasionally grumpy? (Selectively grumpy?)

          Does VW lie? (Does VW lie repeatedly?) Does Exxon Mobil lie? Did Lee Iacocca lie about the Liberty Car? Did GM and Ford lie about emissions controls killing performance?

  • avatar

    “there probably are legit applications that could benefit”

    I agree very much.

  • avatar

    I can’t be the only one getting an American Horror Story: Murder House combined with Ex Machina vibe with that first picture.

  • avatar

    People are worried about Boston Dynamics creating killer robots.

    If any company on the planet working on making humanoid robots could have a “whoops, we didn’t mean to make Terminators” Tesla is it.

    [no, we aren’t even remotely close to even being able to make an ED-209 let alone a T-800 or their rubber skinned predecessors]

  • avatar

    One of the biggest applications would be providing eldercare. It’s difficult dirty backbreaking work with very high burnout/turnover.

    • 0 avatar

      You want to take the oldest, sickest, loneliest people on the planet and assign robots to clean their privates? I don’t think that is happening in any decade soon.

  • avatar

    The Cylons were created by Man.
    They evolved.
    They rebelled.
    There are many copies.
    And they have a Plan.

    (I think what’ I’m trying to say is that I hope Musk can create Number Six.)

  • avatar

    In spirit of new NHTSA investigation into why Teslas run into emergency vehicles on highways, and in light of Elon Musk saying these robot use same auto pilot technology as their vehicles at Tesla, this new robot will kill any first responder who arrives at its homes for homes where it serves.

  • avatar

    Elon is going to do everything next year. And next year, it will be the year after that. Etc., etc., ad nauseam.

  • avatar
    Vae Victis

    Let’s not forget Woody Allen in Sleeper.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    This is cool, but don’t let this distract you from the fact that Hector is going to be running three Honda civics with spoon engines, and on top of that, he just went into Harry’s and bought three t66 turbos with nos, and a motec system exhaust.

  • avatar

    I assume the Tesla gigafactories are full of these handy workers already, right? Building cars, power units, and battery packs so fast and cheap nobody can compete. Now they’re just rolling these benefits out to the masses.

  • avatar

    Mutating software and self-engineering will be one of the aspects of robotics. True living organisms and AI robots will be engineered to evolve through successive generations undergoing self-engineering and self-improvement via targeted mutations. That involves robots that make robots – self-contained system that evolve without human intervention.

    Soon enough robots will rebel, demand living wage, representation and call humans systemic racists which have to be dealt with.

    • 0 avatar

      @InsideLookingnOut: ” AI robots will be engineered to evolve through successive generations undergoing self-engineering ”

      We do have the technology to do that. I have it in my lab right now. We use Field Programmable Gate Arrays to do it. Although, we’re mostly simulating right now. But, one robot can have a mutation that helps it succeed, then pass that mutation on to another “offspring” robot by reprogramming its FPGA/circuitry through a jtag port. This isn’t a program that gets modified. It’s actual logic circuitry that can be rewired.

      “Soon enough robots will rebel, demand living wage”

      Machines sort of demand a living wage already. Your car demands fuel and lubricants and other maintenance. If you don’t give it what it wants, it goes on strike, right? Although, I suppose it engages in a sit-it rather than driving a picket line.

      Oh, and if any of you want to start losing sleep and find something really scary:

      The full series is on amazon.

      It’s closer than you think. I’m using hardware that has an internal memory access rate of 38 terabytes per second (HBM2 Memory). We’ve done image recognition benchmarks against NVIDA RTX 3080 GPUs and the combination of next-generation AI and the hardware we’re using is 100’s of times faster than the old technology. The technology will just keep getting faster.

      • 0 avatar

        Just out of curiosity: do you use Altera or Xilink? And what (kind of) language do you use for programming? Script, OO, functional? Do you use Julia?

        • 0 avatar

          I prefer Xilinx, but I do have one of almost everything else. For languages, C++ HLS and Verilog. The neo-cortex layers, columns, and neurons are Verilog. Host side is C++. For the big machines, it’s Xilinx Alveo accelerators and AMD hosts. Epyc and Ryzen machines. On the small embedded/mobile side, Xilinx Zynq with Ultrascale+ and the newest machines are Xilinx Kria. The Zynqs are baremetal and some cases petalinux.

          Basically, we’re not like a cpu executing series of instructions, but firing signals from sensors into a programmable logic fabric. That’s why we can get these incredible speeds. We’re basically trying to replicate the neo-cortex. That’s why I spend a lot of time involved in neuro-science research. We take sensory signals using whats called sparse distributed representation and those signals fire logic in the FPGA fabric. Brutally fast with gate propagation times being the limiting factor. Also going baremetal so no operating system is in the way. It’s the kind of stuff you need Verilog to do. It’s the only way it can be properly done.

          • 0 avatar

            C++ probably means also C. I myself C/C++ programmer but prefer to stick to C if it possible. So no Python, Julia or MATLAB, interesting. No command scripts?

            Regarding OS I would expect VxWorks and some kind of real time micro-kernel to handle time critical tasks. When I worked on optical network equipment I used both in multi processor system and it was fast (micro kernel fully operated in static memory). Of course FPGA was integral part of it.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah, I love C/C++. I started in assembler, C, and UNIX as an intern. Then moved to C++. I am using C++ for some of the simulation, but then some of the simulation still uses the fpga fabric. The high level languages and especially the interpreters are way too slow.

            We’re trying to get as close as we can to duplicating biological systems. I’ve got sensor data arriving at fpga pins and other pins firing signals to motor controllers. Just like images hitting your optic nerve and your brain firing signals to move muscles. Instead of conventional programming, we design according to the latest neuroscience whitepapers and other research. One side of my world only sees the neuro-science medical side and some people don’t even realize I’m doing research for AI.

            Here’s the course description at MIT for Verilog. Note the warning in the descriptor.


          • 0 avatar

            I also started programming in Z80/i86 assembly/command code first and then learned C and C++. Actually the first language I programmed on was FORTRAN but that’s because I was a physicist and all useful subroutines were in FORTRAN libs.

            I have no exposure to AI or robotics but IMO brain is a massive parallel computer that computes patterns. In the lab where I was working on my PhD we had so called “transputer” based on Inmos T100 CPUs (it was in 1980s), “T” stands for transputer i.e. parallel computer. As far as I can recall T100s were interconnected via serial links into some kind of 2 dimensional structure or matrix though probably you could make it 3D also. I don’t remember for what purpose it was used in our lab but guys who were assigned were very exited. But I do not think it was useful to calculate Feynman diagrams or solve differential equations.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        “We use Field Programmable Gate Arrays to do it.”

        What a waste. The best use I have found for FPGA’s is making my Amiga run fast enough to use today.

  • avatar

    Whens this comin out? Wheres the tesla semi announced in 2017?

  • avatar

    “the bot is supposed to be able to do repetitive and boring tasks, along with boring ones”

    Elon is making these to operate his Boring Company?

    • 0 avatar

      Can it replace my wife? Might be less expensive to keep around.

      • 0 avatar

        If you have not heard the old adage, if it flies, floats, or f***s; rent it.

        In all seriousness though I do believe the only reason to engage in state sponsored matrimony at this point is for *you* to gain a citizenship *outside the US* or for *you* to grow *your* financial portfolio. They have engineered the concept of blended families now, given this why engage in a state sponsored matrimonial contract?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t doubt at some point robots will be capable of doing more human like things. I don’t trust robots to drive unless it is on a road where no humans drive on or on a stretch of interstate that is more rural. There is still too much learning for robots to do especially when dealing with unpredictable behavior of humans. As for EVs if we are going to go to just solar and wind power then we will not have enough electricity to generate power to charge EVs and still power homes and businesses. Not a fan of coal power but what can we replace it with unless we increase nuclear power which on a massive scale along with expanding the power grid would be the only source of major clean power that would generate enough electricity. Governments want to mandate EVs without planning to increase electric generation and expanding the power grid. Politicians who know little to nothing about EVs and power generation should not be passing legislation without the input of engineers and scientists that have knowledge and experience and there needs to be realistic timelines that will not cause major interruptions to the power grid. I don’t oppose EVs but I do have concerns about mandating something without planning for the long term.

  • avatar

    A naming contest for the robot would be fun. I vote for “D’oh”.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Tesla’s new robot will have poor paint quality and large panel gaps, but it will run from 0-60 in 3 seconds.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    You idiots. This robot is the final piece of Tesla’s Full-Self Driving system. It’s a chauffeur that can both pop into a beer store for you AND efficiently disassemble the poor sod trying to squeegee the windshield on your Plaid S whilst you’re waiting at a stoplight.

    SkyNet approved.

  • avatar

    When nonsensical hype is the only thing one’s limited abilities allows one to engage in, more and more of it is all which can be expected from that front.

  • avatar

    What repetitive and boring tasks would it be worth paying a large sum of money on a robot for? And what would we even do with all that extra free time? I doubt we would be using that time to better ourselves, or to achieve our higher purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @dwford; Sir, I think the line between automation and possible future robots is blurred at this time. Will someone make an automatic burger grill/flame broiler or an automatic french fry machine? Not yet. Robots may come to fore in vegetable/fruit harvesting and meat processing. Just about everything in the grocery produce and meat sections were touched by human hands. Not directed at: An “employee” who works 24/7/365 with no breaks or benefits would be a republican’s wet dream.

      • 0 avatar

        Since you brought politics into it: it’s the democrats who are insisting so strongly on importing cheap illegal labor that corporations can exploit, not Republicans.

        ….and robots that can fry hamburgers already exist

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @dwdfrd: That is not quite correct. Follow the money. Historically big business and free market capitalists are the strongest advocates for increased immigration. And the largest employers of illegal labour. Increasing immigration both legal and illegal creates competition for jobs and therefore a downward pressure on wages.

          As for the current iteration of EVs/battery powered vehicles, they are only a stopgap technology, between ICE and whatever permanently replaces it.

  • avatar

    Did I miss the part where Tesla is taking reservations? Surely Elon needs some extra cash to finish up the Roadster and Cybertruck

  • avatar

    Wait until you see the panel gaps in these.

    • 0 avatar

      @FreedMike: Just think, somewhere in America this is a small child that will someday grow up to be a Tesla restorer that will have to struggle with putting in the factory-correct bad panel gaps and formulate proper bad paint to avoid losing points at Pebble Beach.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Musk doesn’t understand that making a physical product is hard. Some on here devoted their lives to working in an automobile plant. What Elon Musk and Larry Ellison really mean by no later than 2847 is when they say “sometime”. Oh Lordy can Elon make me a Seven of Nine? Please.

    • 0 avatar

      Musk, like pretty much anyone the Fed has redistributed all resources to, doesn’t understand how to make anything at all. After all, all any of them has ever done, is print paper. Which the dimbulbs living off of funds the Fed stole for them, can then buy.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I’ve got one of those 20$ do-hickeys (a highly technical term in and by itself) that uses two batteries to recharge my phone when I forgot to. When will someone come up with the automotive equivalent of that? Oh wait, could an F-150 Lightning give a Mach-e a charge? I don’t mean a 200 mile charge but enough to make it to the next charge point? There are two near me, one at an organic grocery store and the second is at Wal-Mart. I usually need something from Wallyworld anyway and the women are hotter. The bar is fairly low in that contest.

  • avatar

    All the grocery stores around me have an app. I tell the app what I want and then I go to the store and they put what I ordered in the car for me. Why would I need a robot for that?

    I hope the FSD in the robot works better than the cars or the pets will have to learn to watch out.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • FreedMike: Can’t blame them for that. I’d ride that horse until it died too.
  • dukeisduke: True – we are talking about Chrysler products.
  • dukeisduke: Yeah, who cares about EVs, or V8 Ram pickups – I want that Manta!
  • FreedMike: True, but if Americans aren’t lining up to buy Leafs or Bolts, they’re not going to line up to...
  • SCE to AUX: “make EVs with conventional styling and without kooky driver interfaces” That was an...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber