Optimus Progress: Tesla Unveils Impressive Advancements [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla shows off the latest capabilities of its robot, Optimus
Tesla shows off the latest capabilities of its robot, Optimus

Tesla's venture into the realm of humanoid robots, represented by Optimus, has taken colossal strides since its inception. Remember the first "robot" that was a person dressed up? Or the second one that was barely able to move? Initially met with skepticism due to a less-than-stellar unveiling, the latest updates showcase Optimus' ability to autonomously sort objects and move around — specifically doing yoga and revealing Elon Musk's vision inching closer to reality.

From Skepticism to Anticipation

Initially introduced at AI Day 2021, Optimus — or Tesla Bot — came off as a half-baked concept featuring a dancer in a robot suit, sparking doubts across the spectrum. The journey from a man in a suit and a CGI trailer to working prototypes in AI Day 2022 reflects Tesla's unwavering dedication to innovation. The skeptics have served a stark reminder: Tesla's capability for rapid advancement is unparalleled.

Recent demonstrations depict a more refined Optimus, exhibiting fluid movements, advanced balancing capabilities, autonomous task execution, and even dealing with an annoying human who keeps messing with the blocks! These advancements indicate Tesla's relentless progress in neural network training, ensuring that Optimus can interact autonomously and adapt efficiently to real-world scenarios.

Autonomous Learning, Adaptation & Safety

Autonomous sorting and self-calibration are indicative of the significant leaps made by Optimus. The robot's ability to learn, correct, and adapt showcases a future where monotonous, repetitive tasks are relegated to the past, allowing humanity to explore uncharted territories of creativity and innovation.

Safety remains paramount as Musk emphasizes the necessity for local safety maximization, highlighting the commitment to integrating Optimus seamlessly and safely into society. The promise of a centralized pause function showcases a thoughtful approach to ensuring human control and oversight.

Versatility and Vision

In a captivating display of versatility, Optimus was seen performing yoga poses, a testament to its adaptability and range of potential applications beyond industrial tasks. With Elon Musk envisioning Optimus performing ballet one day, the boundaries seem limitless for this technological marvel. In the video Tesla talks about Optimus's capabilities, stating:

“Tesla Optimus is now capable of self-calibrating its arms and legs. Using only vision and joint position encoders, it can precisely locate its limbs in space. Accurately calibrated, Optimus learns various tasks more efficiently. Its neural net runs entirely on-board, using only vision. For example, it can sort these blocks by color fully autonomously. And it does so while dealing with the dynamic reality of our world. Optimus also demonstrates autonomous, corrective action capabilities. It can be trained to conduct new tasks, such as un-sorting. And after a long day of work, time to stretch. Namaste!”

Musk's bullish predictions hint at Optimus contributing substantially to Tesla's long-term value. With a potential demand reaching billions of units, Optimus is poised to revolutionize industries and redefine the integration of robotics in daily life. A 2027 release might have seemed ambitious, but given the rapid progress, it is increasingly plausible.

Tesla's Optimus program illustrates ambition, innovation, and rapid development from CGI skepticism to witnessing a more refined, adaptable, and autonomous robot. I, for one, can't wait for the next AI Day.

Optimus Sorting Objects

Musk Confirms Tesla FSD V12.5 Is Being Tested on Chuck’s Turn

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Yesterday, Elon Musk confirmed that FSD V12.5 is being tested on Chuck’s Unprotected Left Turn. This is a big step – as we usually see Chuck’s UPL getting tested a few weeks or months before the release of another set of software.

Chuck’s Left Turn

Chuck’s Unprotected Left Turn, or UPL, has regularly been seen as a challenge for FSD. Chuck’s UPL is a complex, 2-stage unprotected left turn into high-speed traffic. Ever since 2022, Tesla has been testing on Chuck’s UPL, which is in Jacksonville, Florida.

Vehicles are intersecting from different sides at different portions of the turn, making it one that is truly difficult for both humans and for FSD to get right. It can be a difficult challenge for regular drivers, and ensuring FSD gets it right every time Tesla releases a new build seems to have become a bit of a tradition for Tesla.

As such, we generally see Chuck’s UPL getting tested by Tesla’s ADAS testers prior to a new build being prepared for release to employees. These ADAS testers are pretty obvious – they’ve got manufacturer plates on, and the telltale 2-second halt at stop signs.

FSD V12.5 Around the Corner?

Although Tesla is already testing FSD 12.5, it doesn’t necessarily mean that v12.5 is around the corner just yet – there are still plenty of users that still need to receive FSD v12.4.3 before Tesla jumps to v12.5. About 20-25% of FSD users now have FSD 12.4.3, but most are still on update 2024.14.9 with FSD 12.3.6.

FSD v12.5 is expected to begin features such as fleet communication and the merger of city and highway software stacks, to FSD.

What we’re seeing in Florida on Chuck’s turn (Tesla refers to Chuck Cook in release notes) is likely just the ADAS testers working on the early builds of v12.5. As such, don’t get too wrapped up around v12.5 – most are still waiting for nag-free FSD for the most part.

Tesla Update 2024.26.1: Changes and More Information About Tesla's Summer Update

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla has been preparing another large update with its upcoming 2024.26, but as Tesla gets ready to release it to customers, it looks like we may see some changes. We’ve previously called this the Summer Update, and we’re going to stick with that.

Leave your Spring umbrella behind, and grab some sunglasses (or not, if you have FSD in North America) and let’s take a look at update 2024.26.1.

YouTube Music

It looks like YouTube Music, which was being tested in update 2024.26, isn’t available in 2024.26.1. YouTube may have been in early stages of testing or Tesla found some bugs with the feature that need to be addressed before a public release.

YouTube Music is still coming, but right now it looks like it’ll arrive in a point-release update, (e.g. 2024.26.X). This way, at least all the other features will arrive for everyone, rather than delaying the entire release for a few bugs with YouTube Music.

While we’re sad to see the delay for this music app, this is exactly why Tesla tests things in advance with their QA team and fleet of wave 1 employees. We’ll be glad to see it arrive in our cars when its bug-free, and at least we’re still getting Amazon Music with update 2024.26.1.

Updated Climate Panel

There’s a new Climate screen in update 2024.26, however, it looks like it’ll be just for the Model 3 and Model Y initially. The Model S and Model X use practically the same interface, but it may need some adjustments for the larger screen before it’s released. It’s not clear whether it’ll be available for the Cybertruck out of the gate.

We haven’t seen any images of the updated climate panel yet, but it looks like it’ll be a drastic departure from the screen we know today. It’s expected to include options to automate preheating and precooling of the vehicle on certain days and times and it could make other options more intuitive such as turning off vents on the passenger side (tap and hold the airwaves, but only works on some vehicles).

Other often requested features are to make it easier to turn on the Keep Climate, Dog Mode, and Camp Mode options when the vehicle is put into park.

Many customers have also requested passenger presets so the vehicle could remember settings for different passengers. This could be used for features like passenger climate settings, seat position, seat heater and more, but instead of multiple passenger settings, we may see Tesla add Passenger Profiles that could be used for a wide variety of features. Back in 2021, Musk agreed that it would be a good addition.

Castle Doombad Classic

One addition we saw from update 2024.26 to 2024.26.1 was the addition of the full Castle Doombad Classic game. Castle Doombad has you play as the villain as you defend your castle, but it’s only available on AMD Ryzen-based vehicles (MCU 3). It was released in the 2023 Christmas update and with this 2024.26.1 update the game goes from a demo to the full classic game.

Weather Forecasting

Finally, the Weather Forecast app – a pop-out display when you tap the temperature reading – will be arriving with support for North America, Europe, and other regions. Likely, this will include most regions, but you’ll need to shell out for Premium Connectivity.

The AQI (Air Quality Indicator) is already available in China and should be available in most regions as well, but it will also require Premium Connectivity. You can read more about the weather and AQI features here.

Release Date

Tesla appears close to starting the public release of this 2024.26.1 update. Tesla has recently released major versions (like 2024.26) to employees only and then released a bug fix update as a point release before making it available publicly.

Update 2024.26.1

FSD Supervised 12.3.6
Installed on 0% of fleet
0 Installs today
Last updated: Jul 16, 3:54 am UTC

We could see Tesla release 2024.26.1 as early as this week if further issues aren’t identified, although, in typical Tesla fashion, it’ll be a very gradual release.

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