Robot Crushes Man To Death During Inspection

By April Ryder | Published

A man from South Korea had a run-in with a rogue robot this week, leading to his death. The man was an employee of the robotics company responsible for making the robot, and he was reportedly (via BBC) testing the robot arm for fitness before it was sent out for onsite work. 

The Robot Was Malfunctioning

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The South Korean man was said to be in his 40s, and he was tasked with testing a malfunctioning sensor on the robot arm. During his testing operations, the robot arm mistook the man for a box of produce, due to the faulty sensor. 

When the robot failed to differentiate the man’s head from a box of vegetables, it grabbed him and forcibly pressed his head and chest against a conveyor belt, crushing him to death. The man was quickly rushed to the hospital but later succumbed to his injuries, resulting in his death. 

It Was A Produce Packaging Robot

The killer robot was purposed to sort boxes of peppers and transfer them to nearby pallets for further packaging and shipping. The robot incident leading to the man’s death happened late in the night while the South Korean man was running checks on the machine before it was sent out to a sorting plant in South Gyeongsang province. 

The testing had already once been delayed due to problems with the robot’s sensors, and rightfully so it seems. One official from the Donggoseong Export Agricultural Complex (the entity that owns the plant) made a public statement officially asking for a “precise and safe” system to be established in the future. 

Robot Deaths On The Rise

However, this is certainly not the first time someone has been killed in South Korea by a rogue machine. There was another robot-related incident in March of this year that nearly led to death. A man in his 50s who worked at a plant responsible for manufacturing car parts suffered serious injuries after a robot at the plant trapped him. 

From the looks of some of the current headlines in South Korea, it seems the war between robots and humans has already begun. The world of The Terminator is much more of a reality than it ever was in 1984 when the film was released. 

In the span of years between 1992 and 2017, there were 41 recorded robot-related deaths in the United States. The first recorded robot-related death in the U.S. was way back in 1979 at a Ford factory. Robert Nicholas Williams was killed by a malfunctioning robot arm, similar to the one that killed the South Korean man. 

Malfuntions Are Of The Utmost Concern

Though there may not be rogue humanoid AI robots running around with guns, the growing tally of human deaths is a sure sign that today’s robots are far from harmless. Regardless of their awesome capabilities, machines always malfunction. 

AI Robots And The Future

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As robots grow more and more common in factories and manufacturing facilities around the world, the incidence of robot-related death will likely also become more common. 

The fact is that specialists and tech-centered professionals are constantly learning, and growing pains can be, well, painful. Let’s hope the tech minds of the world advance faster than the machines they produce.