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Elon Musk was likely inspired by Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot, its founder says

Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot Atlas
Boston Dynamics unveiled Atlas in 2013.Tomohiro Ohsumi
  • Elon Musk might have been inspired by Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot, its founder said.

  • Marc Raibert suggested that Musk's ambitions for Tesla's Optimus are driven by its robot Atlas.

  • Raibert made the comments on an episode of Lex Fridman's podcast last week.

Elon Musk’s humanoid robotics dream might have been inspired by Boston Dynamics — the company behind the "Black Mirror" style robot dogs.

Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert recently said that he believes Musk’s ambitions are being driven by seeing the progression of the company's bipedal robot, Atlas.

Raibert spoke about Musk and the robotics industry on a recent episode of Lex Fridman's podcast.

The roboticist said: “I'd like to take some credit for his [Musk's] ambition. If I read between the lines, it’s hard not to think that seeing what Atlas is doing is a little bit of an inspiration."

Raibert, who started the company as a spinoff from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab in 1992, also joked that he "would love to host robot meetups" between Atlas and Tesla’s robot, Optimus.

Optimus was first unveiled by Tesla at its AI day in September 2022 when a prototype was brought on stage.

Musk said last month that Tesla could start shipping some units of Optimus as early as next year.

In its most recent video updates, the Tesla robot can be seen squatting, picking up an egg, and folding laundry — though Musk later clarified that it was not yet capable of doing the latter.

Atlas has become more nimble

Boston Dynamics first debuted Atlas in 2013 and introduced it to the world in a YouTube video that showed it could navigate rocky terrain and stay upright.

It's picked up some more skills since then as the five-foot-high robot can move at a speed of 2.5 meters per second. It can also jump, throw an object, and run.

In 2020, the company started selling its four-legged robot dog called Spot. One artist previously trained three of the robot dogs to paint and they starred in their own exhibition.

Boston Dynamics was acquired by South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company. The deal, which was completed in 2021, valued the robotics firm at $1.1 billion.

Boston Dynamics and Tesla didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment, made outside of normal working hours.

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