The Chinese company Xiaomi publicly unveiled its bipedal robot CyberOne last week. Judging by the demo option, the robot can do little more than walk. Xiaomi doesn’t specialize in making robots, and with the presentation of this robot, we got a kind of impression of at least what the capabilities of Tesla’s highly sophisticated robot, which will be presented on September 30 of this year, can be.
CyberOne weighs 52 kilograms; The height is 177 cm, and the maximum speed is 3.6 km/h.
— leijun (@leijun) August 11, 2022
The robot has a machine vision system for navigation, with which it can analyze the deep-sensory environment at a distance of eight meters. Xiaomi claims it can also sense human emotions, apparently using some AI that can pick up facial expressions. (It should be noted that experts considered such AI systems unscientific, unreliable, and a number of tech giants, including Microsoft, stopped using them).
In this video, you can see CyberOne walking and falling many times, but you never see him get up on his own because he can’t actually do that yet.
CyberOne is not distinguished by its functions. In terms of mobility, it falls far short of Boston Dynamics’ bipedal creations, and perceptually its features are not new. So, what are these robots made of?
In a press release, the company described CyberOne as “a symbol of Xiaomi’s commitment to growing the technology ecosystem” and said that work on the robot “will spur highly practical innovations in other fields.” In other words, CyberOne is more than a robot with any future development prospects, it is a marketing tool and a platform for a much broader R&D effort.
Comparison with Tesla’s Optimus
Unlike Xiaomi, the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, said that he would create a rather sophisticated robot. Musk has said that his robot will follow complex human commands, such as “You know, go to the store and get me this.” He describes the Tesla Optimus as a “general purpose humanoid robot” that will “replace humans in repetitive, boring and dangerous tasks”.
Such promises are really amazing, but we have to admit that it is very difficult and so far, almost impossible to create a general purpose robot. Yes, robots can perform certain tasks, but only in a specialized area — such as a robot vacuum cleaner that performs one specific task. When it comes to a general-purpose robot, Xiaomi’s invention paints a more realistic picture of just how far away we are from such an innovation.
Tesla’s humanoid robot, like Xiaomi, will be able to walk, talk, and possibly have a number of more sophisticated features, but for now, it won’t actually be able to go to the store and buy the product you want.