Will Tesla sell >$1B of humanoid robots by 2030?

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I am betting no. My reasoning: As an example, the Cybertruck, announced four years ago, has yet to be released (with initial release planned in 2021). With each delay, competitors like Ford and Rivian have the opportunity to develop more advanced and capable electric trucks, reducing the potential market share for the Cybertruck. Given that Tesla already produces several vehicles and should possess the necessary expertise, it is concerning that their top engineers are struggling to launch this new product. With such a large price tag on releasing the vehicle earlier, I would think they have every incentive to release as soon as possible, and the fact that their have been delays for an item with a larger market, demonstrates that developing hardware, even adjacent technological hardware, takes time.

Moreover, the market for a humanoid robot is not well-defined. If there is limited market potential, Tesla may not invest the significant capital needed to complete the project. Instead, it may serve primarily as a way to attract investor funds to Elon Musk's companies. Existing factory robots do not require a humanoid form and can be humanoid-like, as exemplified by Boston Dynamics.

Many companies are already producing high-quality robots, and it is unclear how Tesla can surpass them in both engineering and market share to sell more than $1 billion worth. If we consider in-home assistant robots, Tesla would need to outperform established companies like Boston Dynamics, which already have the expertise in controls and mechatronics to create various robots for different situations, and could much more easily pivot into home-assistant if there was a possible market. Additionally, the market for in-home assistant bots is much smaller than that of factory robots, autonomous vehicles, or the space industry. The question to ask is, who would be paying for in-home assistant robots? How many people could afford that?
Further, to be useful in space (as is a recommend application), these robots will need to reliable. I highly doubt SpaceX engineers will risk a launch on the reliability of these robots by 2023, when the cost of 1 human vs 1 robot is quite low in this situation (considering the risk profiles).

Potential other applications, such as last-mile package delivery, already have competitors in the field. For Tesla's robot to succeed, it would need to be more affordable and perform at least as well as, if not better than, existing solutions.


re: the market for humanoid robots

  • my understanding is robots will cost ~20k to manufacture and the only missing ingredient is the 'software' (i.e. AI that is advanced enough)

  • that means any job that can be done by a humanoid robot for cheaper than a human will be done by such a robot. hence, a total addressable market in the Trillions

re: competitors

  • the humanoid robot market is so big that $1B is a drop in the bucket. Demand will far outstrip the total supply produced by all companies in the market, including Tesla, for the foreseeable future. I am a little iffy as to whether they'll be ready by 2030

The boston dynamics demos are flashy but highly choreographed and done in controlled environments. There are currently no robots with general physical capabilities akin to humans, but if AI improves, there will be.

predicts NO

Hmmmm.. If Tesla sells one (1) robot to Twitter or maybe to SpaceX, or to Elon Musk himself, and charge $1B for it, will that count?

predicts NO

@NiklasWiklander I'm still wondering.