Tesla Unveils Optimus Robot Gen 2: Tesla-Designed Fingertip Sensors, Actuators and Ten Other Improvements [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
Optimus Gen 2 shows off its new finger tip sensors
Optimus Gen 2 shows off its new finger tip sensors
Not a Tesla App

Tesla provided a one-minute, 43-second video update on its new humanoid robot. Optimus Gen 2 has come a long way since we originally saw a person dressed up in a white and black spandex costume, and even further since the last update in March.

Enhanced Design and Functionality

The Optimus Gen 2 robot represents a significant evolution from its predecessor. It's 10 kilograms lighter and moves 30% faster. There are moments during the short video where you have to ensure the company hasn’t returned to the spandex-wearing stand-in; it is that good.

A key highlight of Tesla's Optimus Gen 2 is its human-like movement. The robot features new hands and feet equipped with advanced, Tesla-designed sensors and actuators, allowing precise and delicate object manipulation. This upgrade in tactile capability paves the way for the robot's practical application in various tasks.

In a remarkable display, Optimus delicately picks up an egg with those new hands. The video displays the sensors in the fingertips matching where the egg is situated and the force the fingers are using.

Moving beyond functionality, the Optimus Gen 2 also showcases Tesla's flair for design. It had a few body panel upgrades that could be taken straight from a stormtrooper.

In the video, Tesla describes the enhancements that have been made in this second generation of the robot, which include:

  • Tesla-designed actuators & sensors

  • 2 DoF (degrees of freedom) actuated neck

  • Actuators-integrated electronics & harnessing

  • 30% walk speed boost

  • Foot force/torque sensing

  • Articulated toe sections

  • Human foot geometry

  • 10kg total weight reduction without sacrifice

  • Improved balance & full-body control

  • Faster, 11-DoF brand-new hands

  • Tactile sensing on all fingers

  • Delicate object manipulation

Optimus Progression

The Machine That Builds the Machine

There’s no doubt Tesla will use Optimus in its assembly lines, and it’s only a matter of time before Tesla utilizes Optimus to build its own Optimus robots. Although this screams science fiction, it makes sense from an efficiency perspective and the safety of robots and AI are a subject Tesla is taking seriously.

Software and Practical Application: The Real Challenge

Despite its impressive hardware, the real challenge for Tesla lies in the software and practical applications of Optimus Gen 2. The goal is to develop a robot that can reliably and flexibly perform real-world tasks, a challenge that resonates across the field of humanoid robotics.

Tesla's swift progress from announcing its venture into humanoid robotics to unveiling the Optimus Gen 2 is remarkable. This rapid development underscores Tesla's capacity for swift innovation and execution, qualities that have defined the company under Elon Musk's leadership. The Optimus Gen 2 represents a significant contribution to the rapidly evolving field of robotics.

However, Tesla is a leader in artificial intelligence due to its Full Self-driving program, which has changed into neural nets. Version 12 of FSD, now being tested by employees, replaces 300,000 lines of code and allows the system to maneuver the car using its vast neural network. If Tesla can make that work on the road, with hundreds of different variables, it can apply it to robotics where it’ll be used in repetitive situations with fewer variables.

As Tesla continues to refine Optimus, the implications for the company and the broader robotics industry are profound. Musk's vision of Optimus surpassing the value of Tesla's automotive business highlights the anticipated impact of humanoid robots in various sectors. Plus, the robot now dances like Elon, you have to watch until the end of the video to see that display.

Tesla Reduces Price of FSD Subscription to $99 Per Month [Subscriptions Now Available in Canada Too!]

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla just dropped its FSD subscription pricing dramatically in the U.S., lowering the cost from $199 to $99 per month. However, not everyone is thrilled with the new pricing.

For owners who bought the Enhanced Autopilot package for $6,000 USD, Tesla offered a lower-priced FSD subscription of $99, instead of $199. However, with this new FSD price reduction, EAP owners are no longer receiving a discount.

FSD Subscription Expansion

Currently, the FSD subscription is only available in the U.S., but plans for expansion are underway. Tesla's Rohan Patel recently announced that the subscription will soon be available in Canada, alongside the introduction of an annual plan for Premium Connectivity. 

This expansion into the Canadian market is anticipated to follow a similar pricing strategy, adjusted for the currency exchange rate, possibly setting the cost at approximately $140 CAD per month.

Update: Tesla has just announced that FSD subscriptions are now available in Canada! What’s even more surprising is the unexpectedly low subscription price of $99 CAD. Tesla took to X to announce the availability in Canada but unfortunately didn’t reveal any additional information regarding the subscriptions.

Is Buying FSD Still Worth It?

Despite the lowered subscription price, the outright purchase price for FSD remains steep at $12,000. This price point equates to subscribing to the service for over 10 years. Given that the average length of car ownership in the U.S. is about 8 years, this makes the current price of buying FSD unattractive to most. The saving grace of buying FSD is that you know what you're paying for the life of the vehicle and can avoid any potential subscription price increases.

Temporary Reduction or Long-term Strategy?

Tesla has not confirmed whether the price reduction is a temporary promotional tactic or a permanent adjustment. The timing coincides with Tesla's release of FSD v12 and its trial offer, suggesting that the company is keen on encouraging more drivers to experience FSD. This approach not only boosts user engagement but also accelerates the volume of data Tesla can collect to improve the system.

FSD With Referral Credits

Although Tesla hasn't adjusted the price of buying FSD, it is tweaking its referral program to accommodate the new price. Three months of FSD are now available through Tesla's referral program for 6,000 credits, reduced from the previous 12,000 credits.

Tesla's reduction in FSD in the U.S. and its planned expansion into Canada reflect a strategic initiative to make FSD more accessible and financially attractive to a broader audience. There's no doubt this change will increase the number of FSD subscriptions, but it'll be interesting to see how much. To break even, Tesla would need to double the number of subscriptions, but they likely have their eyes set much higher.

If you currently subscribe to FSD, Tesla has automatically reduced future payments to the lower $99 price point.

Tesla Cybertruck to Receive Additional Features in Upcoming Update

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla frequently introduces new models or trim levels before all the software features are available. This situation also applies to the Cybertruck, where several features are still in development.

In the 2024.8 update, Tesla added a handful of features to help the Cybertruck catch up in the software department, adding features such as Reset Tire Mileage, Rear Passenger Headphones, Auto Wipers and others. Tesla also added a Cybertruck exclusive feature that sets off the truck's alarm if the trailer is unhitched from the vehicle.

However, Tesla continues to improve Cybertruck's software. The company is planning an upcoming update that will let the truck charge faster and add Tesla's convenient cabin overheat protection feature.

According to Tesla's SVP of powertrain and energy, Drew Baglino, the Cybertruck's charging speed is about to be upgraded. This software update, slated for release later this quarter, is set to substantially improve the Cybertruck's charging curve and unlock faster charging times for owners. Baglino said the update will "let the Cybertruck get 154 miles of charge in just 15 minutes." That's a 20% increase over the truck's current 128 miles in 15 minutes.

Early reports on the Cybertruck's 4680 cells revealed a somewhat disappointing charging curve. The truck's charging speed would start at about 250kW, then drop off to about 150kW at ~40%. It would then level off at 75-80kW for the remainder of the charge.

It seems Tesla was being careful with the Cybertruck's new battery pack, but now, the company is ready to unlock additional throughput.

This fits Tesla's usual approach. The company likes to start conservatively and then improve its vehicles over time.

Cabin Overheat Protection

Another feature that's set to arrive on the Cybertruck is Cabin Overheat Protection (COP), according to the Cybertruck's program manager. This feature which keeps the cabin from overheating has been available in other models for several years, but it has yet to be made available for the Cybertruck.

In 2022, Tesla added the ability to customize the temperature at which COP would turn on. Users can now choose COP to activate at 90, 95 or 100º Fahrenheit. The Cybertruck's COP is expected to match the same features available in other models.

Given that Tesla's SVP and program manager have officially commented on these upcoming features, it may not be long before we see them available in an upcoming update.

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