One year ago, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) kicked off its first AI day. The company known for producing electric vehicles (EVs) captivated many fans as it unveiled plans for a humanoid robot. As CEO Elon Musk showed off the markup for what the Tesla Bot would look like, he assured the audience it would be performing “boring, repetitive and dangerous” tasks in the not-too-distant future. Fans have been waiting for updates on the futuristic technology and are expecting to get them at tomorrow’s AI Day 2022. While TSLA stock fell this morning, it is already moving upward as anticipation mounts for the important event.
While Tesla has worked hard to tease its advances in robotic technology, AI Day 2022 promises some exciting updates in other areas. The company has also promised to provide new information on its full self-driving, or FSD, technology.
One of the most pressing questions surrounding the automotive industry is when FSD cars will be ready to hit the road. If Musk were to report some progress on that front, it would be a significant boon for TSLA stock. However, Tesla laid off 200 workers from its autopilot division in June 2022, which raised some questions regarding its artificial intelligence, or AI, endeavors.
Let’s take a look at what investors should be watching for at AI Day 2022.
TSLA Stock: Tesla Bot Updates
It’s hard to not be curious about the robot Tesla is developing. Last year, Musk noted the company’s goal was to have a robot prototype ready to debut by 2022. The fact Tesla tweeted out a photo ad for the event featuring robot hands strongly suggests he is ready to roll it out. As InvestorPlace writer William White reports, Musk has always planned for his robots to be able to imitate human movement closely enough to accomplish human tasks.
There’s no denying Tesla’s robot work is likely to be an absolute gamechanger. Musk has stated that it “has the potential to be more significant than the vehicle business over time.” Given the significance of Tesla’s automotive division, that is a very tall order, but certainly not impossible. However, as The Verge reports, there has not been much in the way of concrete evidence that Tesla is making progress bringing a humanoid robot to market.
“Tesla’s history is littered with fanciful ideas that never panned out, like a solar-powered Supercharger network,” the outlet notes. It also highlights, though, that Musk has shifted considerable resources toward the research and development of Tesla’s robotic advancements. It is possible the company’s presentation tomorrow will demonstrate the type of progress investors want to see.
Self-Driving Vehicle Progress
While most focus will be on the Tesla Bot tomorrow, it’s important to note Tesla’s robotics work is linked to its autopilot technology. As White notes, “the Tesla Bot will make use of the company’s self-driving car software to navigate city streets.” However, investors should also be watching carefully for news of Tesla’s full-self driving (FSD) technology.
In August 2022, Musk informed an energy conference that he wanted to have fully autonomous EVs ready to drive on the road before 2023. Given the tight time frame, that struck many as bold, but Musk has surprised skeptics before. As The Verge reports:
“Musk has been promising actual driverless cars are coming since 2016 — a promise he has yet to deliver. He’s gone from saying that Tesla will have 1 million robotaxis on the road by the end of the year to 1 million people in the FSD beta program, which are wildly different things.”
While fans want to see driverless cars on the road, Tesla’s autopilot tech has gotten it into trouble. Vehicles running its driver assistance program have been involved in enough crashes for safety officials to be concerned. If the company can report progress on that front tomorrow, it will bode well for both its robot and EV divisions.
TSLA Stock: Dojo Supercomputer
This area hasn’t gotten as much attention since AI Day 2021. However, the Dojo supercomputer is a machine that has the potential to change entire industries. Also unveiled at last year’s AI Day, Tesla has described it as the world’s fastest AI training machine. As Electrek reports:
“Dojo is Tesla’s own custom supercomputer platform built from the ground up for AI machine learning and more specifically for video training using the video data coming from its fleet of vehicles.”
It adds, “The custom-built supercomputer is expected to elevate Tesla’s capacity to train neural nets using video data, which is critical to its computer vision technology powering its self-driving effort.” The fact that all Tesla’s major advancements are linking back to its self-driving technology should tell investors a lot about the company’s vision and plans.
While this isn’t Tesla’s first supercomputer, it is the first that uses chips built by the company itself. In the current age of supply chain constraints, producing chips in-house rather than importing from an international manufacturer gives companies a competitive edge. The Dojo may not seem as exciting as humanoid robots or self-driving cars, but it could absolutely be a positive catalyst for TSLA stock. Investors should be watching for updates on its progress tomorrow.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.