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Robocide Alert! Self-driving Tesla Model S kills humanoid robot in Las Vegas

The victim was a humanoid robot from Promobot and was heading to the booth with other robots, but stepped out of line and ended up in the car park roadway. There, it was struck by a Tesla Model S in autonomous mode.

By: | Published: January 8, 2019 3:41 PM
The Promobot robot was due to be displayed at CES 2019. The Promobot robot was due to be displayed at CES 2019.

Self-driving car kills innocent robot: Now, that's a headline you don't read every day. But that's exactly what had happened, a robot due to attend the CES 2019 electronics show was knocked over by a Tesla on self-driving mode and reports suggest that the robot is beyond repair. The victim was a humanoid robot from Promobot and was heading to the booth with other robots, but stepped out of line and ended up in the car park roadway. There, it was struck by a Tesla Model S in autonomous mode.

As the car hit the robot, it was tipped over to its side with body, head, arm mechanisms, and movement platform destroyed. Promobot have said that the damage is likely irreparable and that the humanoid will not go on display at the CES.

Oleg Kivokurtsev, Promobot’s Development Director, explained that the robot was brought to Las Vegas from Philadelphia to participate in the CES, adding that the firm will conduct an internal investigation to find out why it got out of line and went to the roadway.

The passenger of the Tesla, George Caldera, said he was trying out his Model S's full self-driving capability and that he thought a car park was an ideal place since there wasn't people or cars at the time.

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"I thought the flivver would come round, but it bumped straightly into it! I am so sorry, the robot looks cute. And my sincere apologies to the engineers," George said.

The Nevada Police Department is investigating the incident, which has got some wondering that the Tesla's autonomous system should have detected the robot as an obstruction and made an evasive manoeuvre or braked.

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