GOOGLEBOT vs TESLABOT! Who Has the Right Approach? With Robotics Expert Dr. Scott Walter!

Google has created a fleet of simple robots that they’re using at their headquarters to test out how a robot can learn from and interact with the world. This is a totally different approach than Tesla, which is attempting to solve a full humanoid robot, including mechanics, vision systems, and the brains. Who has the better approach? Dr. Scott Walter and I discuss!
And as a little bonus I’ve included an off the cuff discussion of deep neural networks learning complex math functions. Enjoy!
Cold Fusion, Boston Dynamics

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Intro: 0:00
GoogleBot vs Teslabot: 0:37
A discussion about Neural Networks and Robot Kinematics: 41:42

Source Video:

GoogleBot vs TeslaBot! What Happens Next in Robotics??


  1. 22:20 "John bake me a cake…well there's a lot of steps…"
    “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe” – Carl Sagan 🙂

  2. I would suggest that walking upright requires inherent instability to allow the robot to constantly tend toward falling in any direction. This vulnerable state would help initiate movement by tipping in the intended direction. The onboard "brain" would then intervene to control the fall by adjusting the footfall or center of gravity or both (resulting in useful human-like movement). This behavior might be compared to a modern fighter jet that is inherently unstable but is constantly being corrected by onboard computers. This allows the aircraft to react instantaneously to the pilot's instructions.

  3. Why in the world must a robot look like a human being?
    Somebody tell me who came up with that idea.

    I think the best robots I've seen are from the movie Interstellar – they look like boxes and sticks
    and you won't feel your job is going to be done by them – they get around and can run things
    but you never will have to ask yourself if they are here to replace you.

  4. Have many smaller neural nets that can be quickly loaded or swapped in (pre-trained) as the robot needs different capabilities…

  5. This has the same issue I have with rhombus, my house is narrow but tall with lots of stairs, anything that can climb stairs or open doors is no use to me.

  6. My grandmother's grandfather was Sir Walter Scot.
    You are Dr, Scott Walter.
    Whatta ya think?
    I know, it would be a better story if I were also a robot. But this is it, so be amazed – or not.

  7. Actually I have a rather different view about the coming AI Day and TeslaBot. I think it should definitely be demonstrated looking exactly like the picture of it we've been seeing for a year. An almost perfect humanoid form factor. Not a bag of wires and servos. I was disappointed to hear Elon say it might not. We constantly see toy-looking or blank-looking robots or robots without any "skin." Inside, TeslaBot probably would look just like the latter. Who cares or whose imagination is excited about that? I want to see humanoid kinematics. I'd like to see human/AI interactions and tasks that require some planning prior to performance. Some factory floor tasks like carrying and fetching; truck loading or unloading; human and machine interactions performing tasks together (pass me a wretch). It is the mental "picture" of the TeslaBot which has driven all of the general audience excitement – the idea of it in the home or hospital or care-giving environment (not some dummy looking doll or Boston Dynamics terminator). That will also excite and attract the best talent to Tesla. And be more convincing for stock analysts, etc. Just like the Roadster did for EV cars, a "genuine" TeslaBot could do for bots.

  8. I think you have a misconception of a robot. The existing commercial robots are not humanoid robots and have simply an arm with a simple end effector (no fingers) and simply move based on pre-programmed kinematics like the guest showed (joint or motor motions that result in the end effector position). No movement or navigation either. That's it. Boston Dynamics robots are the only exception probably although not humanoid they do locomotion and have some autonomous motion. So you can laugh all you want but all robotics so far has nothing to do with the humanoid robots in films. And Elon will not magically produce a humanoid robot over night. Think 2030s for that. And the demo will be disappointing to laymen. Only experts may be impressed.

  9. Dr. Know It All this is really helpful info and I'm really glad we have the "James Douma" of robotics now in the community!

  10. A more advanced robot can actually be easier? I.E. if it can grip weigh and tell on its own if it actually grasped something, then use 2 hands to cradle it (dont need pressure), it doesnt need to know specefic objects, just general routines for object types. Having it measure the weight on its own is super important for transport, self balancing.

  11. I just watched the recent amazing China WRC 2022 robo-conference video 2 weeks ago (also Japan IREX 2022 in March and US ICRA 2022 in June). So many companies demonstrating state-of-art robot hand solutions, walking and balance solutions, sensory systems, etc. It would seem that there are so many existing solutions that perhaps the TeslaBot team can already adopt and meld together. They simply may not have to reinvent the "mechanical" wheel/control aspects and can focus on the AI/Neural Net aspects of perception and planning, and decision-making.

  12. EMI Noise 😖😖😖 any way we can FFT filter this? As a headphone wearer I am annoyed haha

  13. Boston Robotics has their robot do parkour, so Tesla should have a bunch of their robots play volleyball or baseball. Maybe against a human team.

  14. By chance, do you have a link for any of Gary snyder's work? I tried googling, but didn't really find anything.

  15. Medical certification for biomechanical replacement hand requires decades of trials and billions of dollars. That is why we do not have perfect human replacement hands.

  16. It’s a Roomba! Yeah, Tesla’s Bot will Ground and Pound it to a Heap of Recyclables.
    Cheers from San Diego

  17. I think to solve locomotion you start with simulation and then use neural network training until Optimus moves optimally. The problem is you need a working bot design so you can simulate with the right parameters.

  18. My bet is that it is going to take Tesla much longer to get Optimus to a useful state than they think. The “real world” that Optimus has to navigate is an order of magnitude more complex than FSD. While FSD does have to identify objects in 3d, the actions that it needs to plan are very simple 2d actions and super simple in objective .. ie don’t run over that thing. Optimus has to understand and manipulate its complex hands, understand object topology, structure, weight, permissible orientation etc. that gonna be many years of new neural net development IMO

  19. Imo Tesla has proven the benefits of setting ambitious goals on the edge of what is feasible. With their simpler approach google will probably be first to achieve a useful but limited robot. But I think Tesla will be years ahead when it comes to a working multifunctional and flexible robot

  20. If the AI day 2 demo is just a bot prototype walking up to a model Y and plugging it in to a supercharger then walking over to another model y and unplugging it that will be super impressive. I'm sure the market won't understand what it's seeing but my mind will be blown.

  21. Humanoid bots were done before but not on the serious scale and not with good AI or human-like dexterity. It will be the Apple iPhone moment for bots once Tesla has something real.

  22. @6:00

    “If we can’t get an AI brain to get this thing to work, we are not going to get an AI brain to work in a more complicated one.”

    I disagree and I think this points to a failed smell test about the dominant approaches being taken. As Gary Marcus likes to emphasize, improving mountain-climbing skills won’t get you to the moon.

    Also mobility isn’t solved. Quite the opposite – this approach is “sidestepping” the problem altogether. But the problem domain aims us towards a true solution.

    Approaching the problem from such a pixelated perspective likely leads to a lack of understanding the big picture.

    Stop running (interesting that there’s no running two-legged robots) from the actually problems. Instead lean into them.

  23. I was thinking about this topic Tesla vs Google the last few days. My conclusion: There will be several company's making robots like this, just like there are several company's making factory robots today.