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Elon Musk Says Tesla Plans Robots Based on Its AI Technology

Thursday event at Tesla HQ previews latest technology tied to autonomous driving.
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Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report founder and CEO Elon Musk said the company plans to adapt the artificial intelligence technology it's developing for autonomous driving to make humanoid robots. 

Musk  detailed his company’s plans to expand use of artificial intelligence at an event Thursday in Palo Alto, Calif.

Artificial intelligence is seen as key to Tesla’s efforts to deploy fully autonomous self-driving vehicles.

Musk introduced the presentation -- which began about 45 minutes late -- describing "deep AI activity" at Tesla and claiming that "we are arguably the leaders in real-world AI."

After a detailed 90-minute presentation of the computing technologies it's developed to help cars drive on their own, Musk displayed a prototype of a robot he said could use the same technology to operate on its own.

The Tesla Bot will "be friendly" Musk said, adding that it would serve to perform "only dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks." At a mechanical level "you can run away from it," and probably overpower it, Musk said. "Hopefully that doesn’t happen. But you never know," he added. 

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He said the device could herald an era when "physical work will be a choice." Ultimately, it could mean "there will need to be universal basic income."

Shares of Tesla fell $15.52, or 2.25%, to $673.47 in regular trading on Thursday.

Musk has repeatedly offered optimistic comments on when Tesla will achieve fully autonomous driving capabilities, known as Level 5, which won’t require any driver intervention. But deadlines he has set have repeatedly slipped.

Musk is also backing a venture called Neuralink to build interfaces between human brains and external electronic devices.

This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said was launching a probe after it identified 31 Tesla accidents over the past three-and-a-half years, including four in 2021, that were connected to the use of Tesla's 'Autopilot' system. The agency is looking at the system, which is used in 765,000 Tesla Model X, Model Y, Model S and Model 3 sedans made between 2014 and 2021.

TheStreet’s Jim Cramer commented on the move, offering his own take on how the company might best respond.

The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF  (BOTZ) - Get Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF Report fell 19 cents, or 0.6%, to $34.50 Thursday. The Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF  (DRIV) - Get Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF Report fell 57 cents, or 2% to $27.27.

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