Robot kills factory worker: Man is crushed to death when machine fails to differentiate between human and a box of vegetables

Robot kills factory worker: Man is crushed to death when machine fails to differentiate between human and a box of vegetables

  • The man was working through the night to inspect the reportedly faulty machine
  • He was apparently pushed against a conveyer belt and crushed by the robot

A man was crushed to death by a robot in South Korea after it apparently failed to differentiate him from the boxes of produce it was moving, reports say.

The victim, a robotics company worker in his 40s, was inspecting the robot’s sensor at a distribution centre for agricultural produce in South Gyeongsang on Tuesday night.

The machine, which was lifting boxes of peppers onto a pallet, reportedly grabbed the man with its arm and pushed him against the conveyer belt, crushing his face and chest.

The robot appears to have malfunctioned and identified the man as a box, police sources said.

The victim was transferred to the hospital but died later, according to the South Korean Yonhap news agency.

Police are now preparing to launch an investigation into the site’s safety managers for possible negligence in duties. 

An official from the Donggoseong Export Agricultural Complex, which owns the plant, called for a ‘precise and safe’ system to be established in a statement after the incident. 

The victim had reportedly filled in to conduct tests originally planned for November 6. 

They were pushed back due two days due to reported problems with the robot’s sensor. 

In March, a South Korean man in his 50s suffered serious injuries after getting trapped by a robot while working at an automobile parts manufacturing plant.

And last July, footage emerged of a chess-playing robot breaking a child’s finger during a match in Russia.

The robot grabbed the seven-year-old boy’s finger at the Moscow Open because it was confused by his overly-quick movements, Russian media outlets reported.

Sergey Lazarev, vice-president of the Russian Chess Federation, said the child had violated ‘certain safety rules’ by making a move too soon. 

A chess-playing robot (pictured) broke a child's finger during an international tournament in Moscow last July, with the incident being captured in CCTV footage

Christopher Atkeson, a robotics expert at Carnegie Mellon University, told MailOnline: ‘Robots have limited sensing and thus limited awareness of what is going on around them.

‘I suspect the chess robot did not have ears, and that its vision system was blind to anything other than chess boards and pieces.’

James Reynolds

Leave a Reply