China AI Conference: Tesla’s Optimus Humanoid Robot Revealed But Behind Glass Barrier!

  • Editor
  • July 5, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Tesla’s Optimus is one of the few American AI products featured at China’s top AI event.
  • The high costs of humanoid robots remain a significant barrier to widespread adoption.
  • Chinese companies are actively showcasing their advancements in humanoid robotics.
  • The Chinese government aims to produce humanoid robots by 2025.

Tesla showcased its second-generation Optimus humanoid robot at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Thursday.

The Optimus humanoid robot, equipped with Tesla’s proprietary neural network and computer vision technology, is largely seen as the future of robots as it is able to handle multiple tasks.

Vision for the Future

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting that the humanoid robot, which has yet to enter full-scale production, could lift Tesla’s market cap to US$25 trillion in the future.

The single Optimus shown at the Shanghai event attracted a lot of attention, even though it was behind glass and did not move or interact with visitors.

Tesla promoted the humanoid robot on Chinese social media Weibo, asking the public to “witness the further evolution of humanoid robots.”

Official Announcement and Details

On the evening of July 3, Beijing time, Tesla’s official Weibo announced that the second-generation humanoid robot, Optimus, would make its debut at the 2024 World Artificial Intelligence Conference held in Shanghai from July 4 to 7.

The booth is located at the H1-B108 stand in the Shanghai Pudong Expo Exhibition Hall.

The second-generation Optimus first appeared on December 13 of last year, when Tesla released a demonstration video of the Tesla humanoid robot “Optimus Gen2” on social media platform X.

Compared to the previously shown prototype, the second-generation Optimus robot has made good progress in terms of weight and flexibility.

Some analysts believe that Optimus robots could soon replace human labor in many fields at the current iteration rate.

Improvements over the previous generation product include;

  • The use of actuators and sensors is entirely designed and manufactured by Tesla.
  • A more refined overall exterior design.
  • A 30% increase in walking speed.
  • A weight reduction of 10 kilograms, with improved balance and body control capabilities.
  • The addition of new hands capable of gripping heavier objects and performing more delicate operations.

Tesla previously stated that the second-generation Optimus robot will first be applied to its manufacturing factories. Once its practicality is verified, the company will begin selling the robot.

Competition at the Conference

A number of Chinese robotic companies brought their products to the show as alternatives to Optimus.

Local exhibitors, including Shanghai-based Fourier, Tlibot, Dataa Robotics, Robotera, Leju Robot, Shanghai Kepler Robot, and Ti5 Robot, took to the center stage to display their humanoid robots for visitors.

A total of 18 robots, including “Healthy Loong” developed by Humanoid Robots (Shanghai), were presented at the event.

Current Status and Challenges

Although humanoid robots have started to be used in China in sectors including education, entertainment, healthcare, elder care, and factory manufacturing, they are still in the lab research stage, according to company representatives, and are not generating sales yet.

Despite being hyped as one of the most promising applications in the era of artificial intelligence, the high costs of humanoid robots prevent them from being deployed on a large scale.

An engineer at Tlibot, a company founded in 2012 in Mianyang, Sichuan province, stated that a humanoid robot could cost between 500,000 yuan (US$70,000) and 1 million yuan, depending on the complexity of its functions. In comparison, Tesla’s Optimus is expected to sell for up to US$30,000.

Technological Developments and Future Prospects

Leju Robot showed its Kuavo robot powered by Kaihong OS, an operating system derived from Huawei’s OpenHarmony, an open-source OS for smart devices.

Wu Changxuan, an engineer with Leju Robot, said that developing software systems for humanoid robots is more challenging than developing hardware as the company explores ways to widen its applications.

Government Goals

China aims to achieve mass production of humanoid robots by 2025, according to a guideline published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last November.

This goal highlights the nation’s ambition to lead the development and deployment of advanced AI and robotic technologies.

For more news and trends, visit AI News on our website.

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Dave Andre


Digital marketing enthusiast by day, nature wanderer by dusk. Dave Andre blends two decades of AI and SaaS expertise into impactful strategies for SMEs. His weekends? Lost in books on tech trends and rejuvenating on scenic trails.

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