Tesla Bot-like humanoid robots could be a $150 billion business, says Goldman Sachs

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Humanoid robots, like the recently unveiled Tesla Bot, could be a $150 billion-a-year business within the next 15 years, according to a new Goldman Sachs report.

The idea of robots taking over menial tasks and reducing labor costs has been around for a long time, but it has taken on a different meaning.

Robots have already taken over many tasks and jobs, but we are talking about purpose-built and programmed robots for specific tasks – not the general-purpose humanoid robots that science fiction sold us.

But every now and again, there’s a resurgence of humanoid robots and some companies gather around projects, like the Honda Asimo.

Now Tesla is leading another humanoid robot resurgence with its Tesla Bot project, and this resurgence feels different because Tesla seems committed to not only delivering a new robot, but also to putting its manufacturing power behind it, making its Tesla Bot an actual widely available product.

Goldman Sachs has been keeping an eye on this humanoid robot resurgence led by Tesla and today, the firm released a new report about an early investment case for the market.

In the report, the firm estimates that the humanoid robot market could be worth $154 billion by 2035 – or about as much as the EV market – which has been Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s own prediction.

Goldman Sachs wrote in the report:

The launch of Tesla’s humanoid robot prototype, the “Optimus”, has again sparked debate about the financial opportunities of such innovation. The investment case for humanoid robots is sizable – we estimate that in 10-15 years a market size of at least US$6bn is achievable to fill 4$ of the US manufacturing labor shortage gap by 2030E and 2% of global elderly care demand by 2035E.

The firm also described its “blue-sky scenario”:

Should the hurdles of product design, use case, technology, affordability and wide public acceptance be completely overcome, we envision a market of up to US$152bn by 2035E in a blue-sky scenario (close to that of the global EV market and one-third of the global smartphone market as of 2021), which suggests labor shortage issues such as for manufacturing and elderly care can be solved to a large extent.

Interestingly, while Goldman Sachs admits that Tesla is behind the resurgence of humanoid robots, the firm instead recommends investing in motion component suppliers to take advantage of this new market.

Electrek’s Take

I don’t disagree with this analysis, but I might be even more optimistic.

I agree with the general consensus that the prototypes unveiled by Tesla in September were unimpressive, but that’s partly due to the company’s approach of focusing on making the robot for mass production.

I think that approach is going to result in rapid improvements in the humanoid robot sector.

I can see Tesla Bot reaching a valuable level of usability within the next 4-5 years and within 10 years, it could certainly reach a level where it could be a general-purpose robot that could perform a wide range of tasks on command.

That’s really possible I think and therefore, it could lead to Goldman Sachs’ blue-sky scenario a few years before 2035.

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