First Tesla ‘Optimus’ Humanoid Robots to Work at Our Factories, Says Elon Musk

Tesla shared more details about its Tesla Bots, or humanoid robots at its Q4 2021 earnings call today. 

The automaker stressed it would not be launching any new vehicles this year, as it would put constraints on existing production and deliveries. But in the meantime, it would be still working on engineering and tooling used to make upcoming vehicles such as the Cybertruck, new Roadster, Semi and Optiumus—its humanoid robot—before hopeful production in 2023.

CEO Elon Musk said, “in terms of priority of products, I think actually the most important product development we’re doing this year is actually the Optimus humanoid robot. This, I think, has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time.”

“If you think about the economy…the foundation of the economy is labor. Capital equipment is distilled labor. So, what happens if you don’t actually have a labor shortage? I’m not sure what an economy even means at that point. That’s what Optimus is about,” emphasized Musk, adding the robots would be “very important.”

The Tesla Bots are named Optimus internally and that name “seems to be sticking,” said Musk, adding they are calling it Optimus Subprime. Musk said if Tesla can’t find a use for these humanoid robots, then it shouldn’t expect others would.

“So the first use of the Optimus robots would be at Tesla, like moving parts around the factory or something like that,” said Musk.