Tesla Stock Rises by Less Than 1 Percent After Elon Musk's Big Bot Reveal

On Thursday evening, Tesla hosted an event at its headquarters in Palo Alto, California, that the company dubbed "AI Day." During the event, CEO Elon Musk announced that the electric vehicle manufacturer is working on a humanoid robot.

The machine, known as Tesla Bot, will be a general-purpose, bi-pedal, humanoid robot capable of performing tasks that are "unsafe, repetitive or boring" for humans. Musk said the company will probably have a prototype "sometime next year" and that it was seeking skilled specialists to work on the project.

At the start of trading on Friday, Tesla's stock price was up just over $9 from its previous close of $673 before Thursday's event, during which the company also presented some of the artificial intelligence and supercomputer technologies that it is developing to create fully self-driving vehicles.

Tesla stock, which is currently valued at around $678 at the time of writing is down around five percent over the past six months.

The company has been dogged by the global automotive semiconductor shortage, which has made it difficult to deliver cars, as well as safety concerns over the autonomous driving functions in its vehicles.

Big Tesla events such as "AI Day" don't always result in a positive spike for the company's stock. For example, the company's stock dropped more than 15 percent in the two days around its battery technology event held in September 2020.

During the Tesla Bot presentation, Musk said the company would build on the technology it has implemented in other parts of its business, such as automated machines in its factories and its driver-assistance software, in order to develop the robot.

Musk said the robot is "intended to be friendly, of course, and navigate through a world built for humans."

But he said that the mechanical and physical properties of the robot will be designed so that "you can run away from it" and "most likely" overpower it.

"Hopefully that doesn't ever happen but you never know," he said, to laughs from the audience.

Musk showed images of what the robot prototype will look like, saying that it would measure around 5'8", weigh roughly 125 pounds and feature a screen where the head is, which will display useful information.

The robot will be equipped with the same cameras used by Tesla's vehicles, which help them to sense the environment around them, as well as the company's Full Self-Driving (FSD) computer.

It's not clear if the Tesla Bot will ever see the light of day given that Musk has touted several technologies that have never made it to market. Some experts criticized the announcement on Thursday.

"Is the 'Tesla Bot' the next dream shot to pump up the hype machine?" Raj Rajkumar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, told Reuters.

"I can safely say that it will be much longer than 10 years before a humanoid bot from any company on the planet can go to the store and get groceries for you."

Newsweek has contacted Tesla for comment.

Elon Musk and the Tesla Bot
Elon Musk (left) shown next to an illustration of the Tesla Bot (right.) Newsweek/Win McNamee/Getty Images/Tesla