Elon Musk said that the humanoid robot that he presented at AI day is top priority for Tesla and new car models like the Cybertruck and Roadster might have to wait another year for production if they get made at all.
The new car models are being held up by production- and supply chain-related issues like the ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips. Musk has floated the possibility of taking extra measures to secure enough chips to keep up with vehicle orders.
Tesla is nearly ready to open Gigafactory Berlin and still working on Gigafactory Texas. It plans to produce the Cybertruck, as well as the Model 3 and Model Y, at Gigafactory Texas.
The Cybertruck is on the table. Musk hinted that the more affordable, $25,000 Roadster might be canceled.
Tesla finished 2021 with record profits and delivered 308,600 vehicles in Q4 2021. Despite the silver lining, its stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) dropped on the news that some models might be delayed or canceled altogether.
Analysts also expressed concern that Tesla might swivel away from a product that has been an increasingly strong seller for the company. JPMorgan dropped its TSLA stock price target from $325 to $295, for instance. It cited delays in the Cybertruck and uncertainty about the future of the Roadster, as well as Musk’s increased focus on the futuristic robot that Elon Musk unveiled last year.
At last year’s AI Day, Musk hinted that the humanoid robot, code named Optimus, could help with everyday tasks like carrying bags of groceries. They could also handle work in factories and carry out dangerous or repetitive tasks on other planets like Mars.
NASA previously tested a semi-humanoid robot, Robonaut 2, on the International Space Station. It performed a series of tasks to demonstrate its ability to work in microgravity.
For those who have seen the movie Terminator, Elon Musk reassured the public that the robot wasn’t dangerous. “You could outrun it” even in the unlikely event that it malfunctions and goes berserk, he said during AI Day. ″[Optimus is] intended to be friendly, of course, and navigate through a world of humans, and eliminate dangerous, repetitive and boring tasks.”
Will it take your job? Well, it would be easy to imagine Optimus-like robots flipping burgers at McDonald’s or assembling vehicles at Tesla’s Gigafactories. Musk projected that producing robots like Optimus could become a bigger business for Tesla than selling automobiles.
For now, each Gigafactory employs thousands of workers. In the future, Tesla might eliminate HR-related headaches like lawsuits alleging rampant racism at its factories and retaliation against an employee who reported theft.
It has won a lawsuit against one former employee it accused of leaking sensitive documents and settled with another former employee accused of corporate espionage. Even with the occasional victory in court, the lawsuits are likely a large part of the Tesla-caused “headaches” that Musk mentioned at one event.
For once, Musk didn’t mention an ambitious timeline for producing the Optimus robots despite its potential to solve some of his headaches by taking on the boring, mundane tasks in his factories. It could be years before Tesla actually churns them out as fast as it can produce its best-selling Model 3.