Saturday, 11 November 2023 04:41

Factory worker crushed to death when robot fails to differentiate between human and a box of vegetables

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  • The man was working through the night to inspect machine in South Korea
  • 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 failed to differentiate him from a box of vegetables.

The victim, a robotics company worker in his 40s, was inspecting the machine's  sensor at a distribution centre for agricultural produce in South Gyeongsang in the early hours of Wednesday.

The machine, which was lifting boxes of peppers onto a pallet, 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 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 android 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 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. 

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.'


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