A man was killed by a defective industrial robot at a warehouse last week when he was crushed to death at a produce-sorting facility.
Last Tuesday, a South Korean robotics technician met a tragic fate when an industrial robot mistakenly identified him as a container of produce it was tasked with stacking, resulting in a fatal incident at the Donggoseong Export Agricultural Complex in Goseong.
Industrial Robot crushes technician
The victim, a man in his 40s, was trying to troubleshoot a sensor issue on the robot to get the machine in working order before a planned test the next day.
According to reports from the Register, the robot’s sensor detected the technician, mistaking him for a box of vegetables, and proceeded to seize him using its arms and tongs.
In a horrifying turn of events, the robot mercilessly crushed the victim against a conveyor belt.
The severe impact caved in the man’s face and chest, ultimately leading to his tragic demise. The victim was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries.
The worker was reportedly an employee of industrial robot installer, who had been sent to the facility to examine the efficiency of one of the two pick-and-place robots that are used to package bell peppers.
Industrial robot may have killed worker due to human error
According to police, this incident does not indicate that the AI apocalypse has already begun.
“It wasn’t an advanced, artificial intelligence-powered robot, but a machine that simply picks up boxes and puts them on pallets,” Gosong Police Station investigator Kang Jin-gi said about the unfortunate incident.
Investigators are currently focusing their efforts on trying to determine if the machine was defective or if human error was involved.
According to an unnamed source, the sensors of the machine were calibrated to identify boxes.
Video footage from the facility revealed that the technician was carrying a box in his hand while he approached the machine, which could be responsible for the tragedy.
“It’s clearly not a case where a robot confused a human with a box -– this wasn’t a very sophisticated machine,” the source remarked.
Industrial robots cause multiple injuries and deaths
South Korea, which has the highest density of industrial robots to human employees in the world, has experience more than one mishap between man and machine.
In 2022, a worker at a milk factory was crushed to death by a robot stationed near a conveyor belt.
This March, an employee at an auto parts factory was crushed by an industrial robot while maintenancing the machine.
South Korea isn’t the only place experiencing robot errors. One of General Motors’ Cruise autonomous driving taxis was responsible for striking and dragging a pedestrian for 20 feet before stopping.
The October incident prompted the company to recall 950 of the driverless cars, in order to fix the collision detection subsystem software.
However, after a report that Cruise edited footage of the incident to omit the pedestrian being dragged, General Motors announced layoffs in their division of driverless operations, signalling that the company may have hit a road block.