How do Tesla Bot Actuators actually work

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently unveiled the company's Tesla Bot. The robot code-named Optimus shuffled across a stage, waved its hand, and pumped its arms in a slow-speed dance move. Musk predicts the robot could cost $20,000 within three to five years if all goes according to plan. But the question is, what can it do for us.  But before we get into that, lets look at the main devices that drive the Tesla Bot.

Tesla Bot Actuators

The Actuators are the main drive system for any Robot. You could say a robot is nothing more than a PC with moving parts, or in other words, a Robot is a PC with Actuators and sensors. Tesla has developed its own Actuators for the Bot, it uses 3 types of rotary actuators and 3 types of Linear Actuators


tesla bot actuators


If you are wondering why Tesla didn't use standardized Linear Actuators like the FIRGELLI actuator, its because they have several constraints that means they have to develop their own systems to get the Robots to be ultimately lightweight, power efficient, high power density and low cost. Tesla have claimed they want to get the Bot to retail for $20,000 each. This in itself is a tall order for something that's gong to require 23 Actuators, and powerful PC, lots of sensors and a battery pack to make it last more than a few hours, plus a strong skeleton to hold it all together. 

Tesla Bot Linear Actuators

Tesla Bot Linear Actuators

The Linear Actuators Tesla developed are highly specific for a specific role, this means they would not really be of much use for any other application other than a Robot. Their Actuators employ a planetary Roller system and Tesla calls it, but this is basically code for Ballscrew leadscrew design, and instead of a traditional magnetic armature coil in the middle of the motor they decided to use a brushless core motor design. This means the Ball leadscrew design is very efficient and uses less power, but also more expensive. And they use a Brushless power system which means the live span will be significantly faster and allows highly specific drive modes controlled by the software. 

Tesla Bot Linear Actuators

The length of travel is only about 2" long, and as the picture showed of them lifting a Piano at 500KG, this is alot of weight. You may wonder why it needs to lift so much weight?, well that's because when installed in a metal skeleton, the actuators travel needs to amplify the stoke of what its moving.  So if its moving the Leg of a Robot, the leg needs to be able to move about 150 degs, or over a 2 foot length the leg needs to swing from about zero to a 3-foot arc. The huma body that has evolved over 100,000's of years allows us humans to do this using our leg muscles, but getting a linear actuator to do this is no easy task. So the point I'm making is that, even though The Actuator can lift 500Kg of weight over 2-inches, once that actuators connected to a lever, the force gets reduced significantly, depending on the leverage ratio, and but the speed increases which makes for a nice trade-off. 

Tesla Bot Presentation.

Here is what Tesla themselves had to say about the latest Bot presentation they gave on sept 30th 2022


Elon Musk presents: We've got some really exciting things to show you, I think you'll be pretty impressed. I do want to set some expectations with respect to  our Optimus robot as as you know last year it was just a person in a robot suit but we've not we've come a long way and it's I think you know compared to that it's going to be very impressive. And we're going to talk about the advancements in AI for full self-driving as well as how they apply to more  I think there's some potential that what we're doing here at Tesla could make a meaningful contribution to AGI, and and I think actually tells us a good entity to do it from a governance standpoint because we're a publicly traded company we have one class of of stock and that means that the public is important maybe I'm not crazy I don't know.  So yeah so we're going to talk a lot about our progress in AI autopilot as well as the progress in with with dojo, and then we're going to bring the team out and do a long q & a so you can ask tough questions. Whatever you'd like existential questions technical questions if it would want to have as much time for Q&A as possible so let's see with that you guess what daily. 
Hey guys I'm Milan I work on autopilot and it is rubber I'm Lizzy a mechanical engineer on the project as well okay so should we should we bring up the Bot before we forward first time we try this robot without any backup support cranes
self-driving computer that runs in your Tesla cars by the way this is the it's literally the first time the robot has operated without a tether was on stage tonight that's it, so the robot can actually do a lot more than we just showed you we just didn't want it to fall on its face, so we'll we'll show you some videos now of the robot doing a bunch of other things um yeah which are less risky. 
with apart and just walking around and dancing on stage and just humble beginnings but you can see the autopilot neural networks running as
a rendered view that's that's the robot what's the that's the world the robot sees so it's it's very clearly identifying objects like this is the object it should pick up picking it up. We use the same process as we did for autopilot to collect data in train your networks that we then Deploy on the
this is really an actual station in the Fremont Factory as well that it's working at. 
That's not the only thing we have to show today so that what you saw was what we call Bumble C,  that's our sort of rough development robot using semi-off-the-shelf actuators but we actually have it's gone a step further than that already the team's done an incredible job and we actually have an optimist bot with a
everything it wasn't quite ready to walk but I think it will walk in a few weeks, but we wanted to show you the robot and something that's actually fairly close to what will go into production, and and show you all the things it can do so let's bring it out
make the robot at in high volume at low cost with high reliability so that's incredibly important I mean you've all seen very impressive humanoid robot demonstrations and that that's great but what are they missing?, they're missing a brain, they don't have the the intelligence to
and made in low volume whereas this this is the optimistic society and extremely capable robot but made in very high volume probably ultimately millions of units and it is expected to cost much less than a car. 
so okay that's good that's good um yeah the teams put on put in and the team has put in an incredible amount of work uh it's uh working days you know seven days a week running the 3am oil to to get to the demonstration today I'm super proud of what they've done is they've really done done a great job I just like to give a hand to the whole option of this team so you know that now there's still a lot of work to be done to refine Optimus and improve it obviously this is just Optimus version one and that's really why we're holding this event which is to convince some of the most talented people in the world like you guys to join Tesla and help make it a reality and bring it to fruition at scale such that it can help millions of people and the the and the potential it likes it is is really boggles the mind because you have to say like what what is an economy an economy is uh sort of productive entities times the productivity uh Capital times output productivity per capita at the point in which there is not a limitation on capital, it's not clear what an economy even means at that point an economy becomes quasially infinite so what what you know taken to fruition in the hopefully benign scenario um the this means a future of abundance a future where um there is no poverty where people you
it really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it obviously we want to make sure that transformation is a positive one and safe and but that's also why I think Tesla as an entity doing this being a single class of stock publicly traded owned by the public is very important and should not be overlooked I think this is essential because then if the public doesn't like what Tesla's doing the public can buy shares in Tesla and vote differently. 
sometimes people think that not but it's not true so you know that's it's very important that the the corporate entity that has that that makes this happen is something that the public can properly influence and so I think the Tesla structure is is ideal for that and like I said that you know self-driving cars will certainly have a tremendous impact on the world um I think they will improve the
order of magnitude perhaps more um optimists I think has maybe a two order of magnitude potential Improvement in economic output like like it's not clear it's not clear what the limit actually even is so but we need to do this in the right way we need to do it carefully and safely and ensure that the outcome is one that is beneficial to civilization and and one that Humanity once I can't this is also it's extremely important obviously, so and I hope you will consider joining Tesla to achieve those goals at Tesla we really care about doing the right thing here always aspire to do the right thing and and really not pay the road to hell with good intentions and I think the road to hell is mostly paved with bad intentions but every now and again there's a good intention in there so we want to do it do the right thing um so you know consider joining us and helping make it happen um with that let's let's uh move on to the next phase right on thank you Elon