Elon Musk designing robot 'Optimus'

Elon Musk has revealed plans to build a humanoid robot
Image via Twitter

‘You can run away from it’: Elon Musk jokes about his ‘friendly’ robot [watch]

‘Five miles an hour; if you can run faster than that, you’ll be fine’: Billionaire Elon Musk is at the helm of creating a humanoid robot, he believes will ‘eliminate dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks’.

Elon Musk designing robot 'Optimus'

Elon Musk has revealed plans to build a humanoid robot
Image via Twitter

We’ve seen this concept play out a thousand times in the world of science-fiction: robots taking over the world.

But while Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is helping to bring the future to our fingertips with his latest design — a robot powered by artificial intelligence (AI) in the humanoid form — he believes it won’t pose any significant dangers to the human race.

At least, that’s what he hopes…


The “Tesla Bot”, which utilises the company’s same autopilot system, will boast some seriously cool features, claims Elon Musk.

The tech guru made the announcement last week during Tesla’s AI Day, where he claimed that a prototype will be ready as early as next year.

So what can the Tesla Bot do?

According to the South African born entrepreneur, the robot, which is code-named ‘Optimus’ (sub-prime, he joked) will be able to do a range of activities, including “eliminating dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks”.

“Can you talk to it and say, ‘please pick up that bolt and attach it to a car with that wrench,’ and it should be able to do that…’Please go to the store and get me the following groceries.’ That kind of thing. I think we can do that.”.


The robot will be in human form and will weigh 57kg, stand 5 feet 8 inches high (1.7m), be able to carry 20kg and move as fast as 5 miles (8km) per hour. It would also have five robot fingers on each hand and “a screen displaying useful information” in the form of a face.

Elon also claimed the robot would have a “profound” impact on the economy and possibly end a shortage of labour.

“What is economy? It is, at the foundation, it is labour…

“What happens when there is no shortage of labor?” If all goes well in Musk and Tesla’s plans, these Tesla Bots will fill those gaps and ensure there are enough workers to go around, even if they aren’t living and breathing people.

And Elon believes the Tesla Bot could eliminate the task of physical labour, if that is what humans want it to do..

 “What is the work that people would least like to do?…Physical work will be a choice. If you want to do it, you can, but you won’t need to”.

And Elon reassures (or at least tried to) that any concerns the robots would become too clever – or too strong – for their own good, was unlikely.

“We’re setting it such that it is at a mechanical level, at a physical level, you can run away from it and most likely overpower it

“Hopefully that doesn’t ever happen…But you never know.”

The robot will be “friendly” too, whatever that means.