Tesla’s stock (TSLA) is free-falling today as its newly unveiled robot is getting ridiculed, but Elon Musk claims people don’t understand the value.
Tesla’s stock is down 8% today while the Nasdaq is up 2%. This is one of Tesla’s biggest drops of the year, and it comes off of two separate events that happened since the last market close on Friday.
Yesterday Tesla disclosed its Q3 delivery and production results, and it came a bit short of expectations, though it was because of about 20,000 vehicles in transit to customers.
The second event contributing to Tesla’s stock falling is the AI Day event held late on Friday.
The market is still digesting the event, but the general consensus appears to be disappointment, mainly that Tesla didn’t communicate clearly how much closer it is to its goal of delivering a self-driving system.
Tesla did disclose some significant progress with its Dojo supercomputer program and impressive new technologies to improve its self-driving program, but there’s still no clear path to delivering on its promise.
Then there’s the Tesla Bot.
After pulling opinions from analysts and social media, it appears that the consensus is mainly that the two prototypes unveiled were mostly underwhelming.
One of them couldn’t even walk, and the other was barely able to walk and wave to the crowd. Tesla did release some videos of the robot completing other tasks, but those were mostly unimpressive, and it looked like purpose-built robots would make more sense for those tasks.
Musk again said that “only a few people understand the value of Tesla Bot,” and he believes that the humanoid robot can eventually increase economic output by an order of magnitude.
Some of the critics of the Tesla Bot are missing an important point. Yes, it is unimpressive in many ways, especially if you compare the prototypes to what Boston Dynamics has shown so far.
I have seen dozens of comments similar to this one over the last few days:
But Tesla is not trying to make a robot as agile as Boston Dynamics’s products. The company is trying to make a robot that can be useful and manufacturable on a large scale in order to keep the costs down.
We don’t know how much Boston Dynamics’s bipedal robot costs, but we know they’re selling the much smaller dog robot for $75,000, so it’s fair to say that it would be much more expensive than Tesla Bot, which is supposedly going to be “less than $20,000.”
But it’s a fair question to ask about how useful the Tesla Bot could be. I think it’s clear that Tesla is focusing on a fairly high level of dexterity in the hands, the ability to move from one location to the next, and a high level of ability to understand and navigate its environment through Tesla’s computer vision capability.
I do think that there are many use cases for a robot being able to do that.
However, I just don’t understand Musk’s claims that “only a few people understand the value of Tesla Bot,” and I think it comes with a fundamental problem with Musk’s feedback loop.
Anyone who has spent any amount of time thinking about the value of a cheap, useful bipedal humanoid robot understands just how much value it would bring to the economy.
If there’s doubt about the project, there are mainly doubts about Tesla’s ability to deliver such a product, especially because of how behind the automaker is on its self-driving program.
Some skepticism on that front is healthy, but if Tesla can deliver on the product, then yes, the impact is going to be tremendous.
But it looks like Musk needs to reevaluate his own credibility when it comes to that stuff with anyone who is not a superfan. Tesla fans on Twitter telling him how great FSD Beta is and taking everything he says as the gospel is taking a toll.
It results in him thinking that people can’t see his vision just because they have doubts regarding whether or not he can deliver the vision.
Now he has this habit of retweeting people directly quoting him word for word and commenting something like “that’s true” or “exactly,” which is just bizarre.
Musk can deliver on his vision as he has done many times in the past, but he needs to better manage expectations because he has obviously done a terrible job at that with the Tesla Full Self-Driving program.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.