Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Right balance between robots/automation and humans


Active Member
Jul 21, 2013
Musk's comment on CBS re excessive automation had me looking into it more and I found this good article on Tesla's automation efforts is at: Musk Says Excessive Automation Was ‘My Mistake’

And especially this paragraph:
“German OEMs -- traditionally the most enthusiastic proponents of automation -- have actually been rowing back on it in recent years,” Warburton wrote. “The best producers -- still the Japanese -- try to limit automation. It is expensive and is statistically inversely correlated to quality. One tenet of lean production is ‘stabilize the process, and only then automate.’ If you automate first, you get automated errors. We believe Tesla may be learning this to its cost.”

Not surprisingly, to find the bleeding edge of automation, Tesla probably went a little too far -- at least at first. Maybe it will eventually pay off (unlike that conveyor belt thing I guess . . .) .
But I can't help but think that the above tenet -- to stabilze with humans first, and then automate the human process -- is NOT the best recipe.

MAchines/robots would not have the dexterity limitations of humans and if designed right you could, theoretically, find a much more efficient and stable robotic process that a human could never do at any speed.
Last edited:
  • Love
Reactions: njxman
I would not take that the Japanese and Germans removed certain automation as evidence of its impracticality. Both of those countries' automakers have interests in keeping laborers employed and busy even if it would decrease efficiency to a degree.

Eventually Tesla will get to a fully automated production line. It may take a large rethink of how cars are designed to make the automation more simple. For example, assemble the entire interior as various modules and insert those at once to parallelize the production. There's no real reason for the final assembly to be as linear as it is other than the process was designed to be friendly for human workers. Automating a human process doesn't necessarily make sense.

I agree that it was too risky for Tesla to attempt this level of automation with the Model 3. No one in the industry has succeeded in fully automating at speed and the risk was just too high. They should have had multiple production lines going. One for testing and tweaking fully autonomous assembly and the other a more classical human heavy approach. It would have ended up better ROI than these shutdowns and lagging production.
  • Like
Reactions: zmarty