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Tesla’s ‘alien’ inspired robot production line is becoming a reality

Published Apr 26th, 2017 3:29PM EDT
Tesla Model 3
Image: Ena/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Tesla this week took delivery of a large shipment of advanced robots that will play an integral part in the Model 3 production process, according to a new report from Teslarati. Hardly a surprise, Tesla remains confident that Model 3 mass production will begin in earnest this July. And if all goes according to plan, deliveries to early reservation holders will begin later this year.

The newly received shipments of robots were ordered from Kuka, a German-based company that specializes in industrial-grade robotics. Photos of these robots were reportedly snapped by a Kuka engineer upon their unpacking, two of which can be seen below.

The report further adds:

Tesla owners that were touring the factory over the past week have reported seeing the palette of Kuka robots onsite, which apparently were not getting installed until now. One owner from the Tesla Motors Club (Engle) said, “You can’t take photographs, but I can tell everyone that there is an enormous area of the factory where the Model 3 assembly line is being built. There are Kuka robots all over the place waiting to be installed. It’s a beautiful thing. One of the guys that works there said there’s so much activity going on, that he and a friend challenge each other each morning to see if they can figure out what’s new that day.”

Speaking to Tesla’s ambitious production plans, the company reportedly took receipt of over 400 new robots in recent weeks.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long been a fan of utilizing advanced robots on the assembly line, even boasting that Tesla’s array of robots are the biggest and most advanced in the world. Last year, Musk took to Instagram and said that Tesla’s production line features 542 robots, a figure that has undoubtedly increased since then. Tesla also released a time-lapse video of its advanced robots putting together a Model X.

With Model 3 mass production on the horizon, Tesla is keen on automating as much of the production process as possible, a point Musk emphasized during an earnings conference call last August.

While Tesla isn’t there yet, Musk said that version 3.0 of Tesla’s factory will be an “alien dreadnought.”

“By version 3, it won’t look like anything else,” Musk said in remarks transcribed by Business Insider. “You can’t have people in the production line itself, otherwise you drop to people speed. So there will be no people in production process itself. People will maintain the machines, upgrade them, and deal with anomalies.”

As it stands now, Tesla is planning to manufacture approximately 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by September.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.