An exciting announcement was made not too long ago at Telsa AI Day held on August 19, 2021. CEO Elon Musk, known for his groundbreaking innovations in space flight, electric vehicles, solar panels and even flamethrowers – unveiled Tesla’s new project known as the “Tesla Bot”. Already spurring an increase in hiring at Tesla, the aim of Tesla Bot, also known as Optimus, is to achieve an overall humanoid robot, capable of physical and intellectual tasks that should integrate seamlessly with biological humans. As a dedicated artificial intelligence app developer with a presence in Seattle, we’re committed to staying one step ahead of development in the AI space.
According to Musk, “There will be profound applications for the economy. In the future, physical work will be a choice.” He describes his company’s electric vehicles as “semi-sentient robots on wheels”, therefore the AI technology built into Optimus is expected to carry over into the autopilot system native to Tesla cars that currently still requires a licenced driver to operate the vehicle at all times.
Although no functioning Optimus robots have been built yet, Musk claims that Tesla is planning to start production as early as 2023. The recent shifting of resources to elevate all things AI at Tesla, hiring of more engineers, combined with public announcements has left many of us wondering how innovations will influence the future of AI.
How is Tesla Innovating AI?
Tesla has already been developing AI technology for some time through the FSD (“full self driving”) driver assistance system. The FSD mechanism relies on several cameras embedded throughout the vehicle and computer vision algorithms to navigate the vehicle autonomously. Currently this system is available on all Teslas and can be accessed with a monthly membership.
While autopilot is fully capable of steering, accelerating and braking, the key limitation is that a driver needs to be fully present to use Autopilot – far from that “fully autonomous” experience we all envision. Certainly, the recently announced Optimus project is expected to advance the capabilities of Tesla’s autopilot system as well.
Building a “Generalized Solution”
One way in which Tesla is innovating is their overall approach to AI development. Tesla wants a “generalized solution” that can be applied and scaled to all scenarios – not just autonomous driving. By aligning their vision to a humanoid robot nicknamed Optimus, virtually all use-case scenarios can be enveloped rather than restricting the AI development to autonomous driving alone.
Computer vision and deep neural networks
Tesla strayed from the mainstream approach to autonomous driving by going with a 100% computer vision solution forgoing any lidar sensors. Most self-driving cars employ lidar sensors which utilize laser beams to build a 3D map of the environment surrounding the vehicle. However, the drawback is the high density of information and difficulty in precise mapping with lidar data makes this unscalable. In other words, the resources required to continually maintain these 3D maps is an extremely difficult task.
Tesla’s deep learning neural network is so advanced that is can accurately collect camera data, label objects, recognize roadways, and even make decisions in real-life driving scenarios.
Completely in-house solution
It is staggering how much Tesla has invested into their AI and autopilot technology opting for a “vertically integrated” product. From start to finish, the Tesla Bot just like Tesla’s autonomous driving system is exclusively built internally with no outsourcing. The FSD chip and Dojo Chip are two pieces of hardware designed by Tesla to power their autonomous driving system and neural network supercomputer, respectively.
What does this mean for AI applications?
It’s hard to imagine how an AI robot will not impact just about every aspect of our lives. If it becomes reality, the world will be turned upside down – hopefully for the better. Experts predict these humanoid robots could eventually perform boring, dangerous, or otherwise undesirable tasks such as picking up the groceries to home healthcare. Depending on how accurate Elon’s predictions are, we might not see these in the near future.
What is more interesting, perhaps, is how these AI innovations could influence the mobile app development space. For example, the extremely robust neural network developed by Tesla is expected to have applications in healthcare regarding patient care decision-making.
The integration between computer vision and neural networks power the innovations and success of Tesla’s autopilot system and future humanoid robot, nicknamed Optimus. One anticipated way in which these innovations will impact AI applications is in the space of healthcare in regards to patient care decision-making. Our take is that the neural network will eventually become a common tool of any business or individual. Understanding how AI technology could enhance your product or service in the form of a mobile application is the best place to start.
Interested in learning how Dogtown Media can help develop your next AI app? Contact us.
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