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Humanoid robot is Tesla's 'most important product' this year, Musk says

Yes, you read that right. Musk wants to build a humanoid robot, like the one you saw in the Will Smith movie.

AUSTIN, Texas — Tesla CEO Elon Musk has his eyes set on more than just building electric cars. 

In the company's fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, Musk said Tesla's "most important product" it would be developing this year did not have wheels, but rather legs and feet: a humanoid robot. 

Yes, you read that right. Musk wants to build a humanoid robot, like the one you saw in the Will Smith movie.

The "Tesla Bot" was first teased in August 2020 as part of an announcement of AI Day, a series of tech talks hosted by Tesla in California, according to CNBC. The report stated that the Tesla bot would stand 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weigh 125 pounds and be able to run 5 mph. 

Musk also said in the earnings meeting that the Gigafactory in Austin –  set to churn out Model Y SUVs, as well as Tesla's new Cybertruck – started producing vehicles in December 2021.

"In Texas, we're building the Model Y's with the structural battery pack and the 46-80 cells, and we will start delivering after a final certification of the vehicle, which should be fairly soon," Musk said in his opening remarks.

According to reports, Cybertruck production and distribution may be delayed until 2023. Musk cited chip shortages as the issue for the release time of the Cybertruck. 

However, the priority Musk has given on the robot project gives some insight on the direction Tesla could be headed. 

“I think it has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time,” Musk said of the robot, which is code-named Optimus.

According to CNBC, Musk said in Wednesday's earnings call that the robot has "the potential to revolutionize the economy if it can perform tasks that can now only be carried out by humans." 

Musk said in Wednesday's meeting that he hopes to have a prototype in the next year. CNBC noted, however, that Musk has made similar proclamations in the past that haven't come to fruition, such as churning out 1 million autonomous “robotaxis” on the road in 2020. Those "robotaxis" still don’t exist. 

Regardless, Musk's robot announcement adds to the list of Tesla's spontaneous tech products, such as the Cybertruck and the $1,900 Cyberquad for kids (which sold out almost immediately after they were announced weeks before Christmas).

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