Robot Security Guard Injures Toddler In Silicon Valley Mall

Robots and artificial intelligence are slowly moving into our lives, but the interaction is not always favorable.
Knightscope Security Robot 1 photo
Photo: Knightscope
Like workers in the industrial revolution feared for their livelihood because of steam engines and other machines, humans of the Third Millennium will probably fear being injured by a robot. Robots are programmed never to harm a human willingly, but accidents do happen, and one of them led to a toddler being hit by a 300-pound (136 kilograms) machine.

Fortunately, the 16-month-old boy was not seriously hurt by the impact with the five-foot-tall robot (152 centimeters). However, as his parents noted, the robot somehow struck the child’s head, and the toddler fell facing the floor, while the robot kept moving forward after running over the kid’s right foot. This is the first reported injury of a human after being struck by a robot, which was being contracted as a security guard at the Stanford Shopping Center.

Luckily, the 16-month-old boy did not suffer any broken bones, but his leg was swollen after the impact, and he also had a scrape on his skin. The child’s parents are concerned about the robot, and have reached out to media outlets to prevent others from injury.

According to ABC 7 News and Lilian Kim, their reporter on site, the parents were walking behind the child, being just a few feet behind when the impact happened.

The robot is manufactured by Knightscope Security, and is being offered to businesses in the USA through a rental program. It costs just $7 an hour to rent a pair of robots, but only one of them will patrol a property while the other recharges.

Each of the robots is pre-programmed to follow specific routes or operate in geo-fenced areas, and it comes with video recording and infrared vision. It is designed to alert authorities of unnatural noises, sudden environmental changes, as well as known criminals.

The shopping center introduced the robot security guard last year, and no incidents like these have been reported so far. Representatives of the company that developed the robot have yet to comment on the matter, and neither have the mall’s spokespersons.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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