A robot killed a man in a horrific incident that sounds like something straight out of a science-fiction movie. The incident took place at a Volkswagen production plant in Germany on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.
According to the report, the robot grabbed the man then crushed his body against a metal plate. It happened while the unnamed 22-year-old was setting up a robotic system at the VW plant in Baunatal, a small town in Hesse, Germany.
The Times of India wrote that the accident is being blamed on human error. The robot didn’t malfunction and there was no indication that there was a problem with the machine. VW spokesman Heiko Hillwig explained that the robot can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process and it usually operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them.
According to initial information from Hillwig, two employees were engaged in the setting up of a robot. The victim stayed indoors in the vicinity of the robot, while the other employee remained outside the plant.
Reportedly, the man suffered heavy bruising in the chest area. He was resuscitated, but died in the hospital a short while later.
Prosecutors are still investigating and as of the time of this report, it is unclear if charges will be filed. Investigators are trying to figure out who was responsible for starting up the robot.
Volkswagen employs around 15,500 employees at the factory. The incident took place in an area where the electric motors are manufactured. The exact cause of the incident is not yet known but Hillwig made it clear that the robot had not yet been handed over to VW, it was still owned by the contractor.
The prosecutor’s office will now have to determine who will be held responsible for the man’s death. The tragic accident is still under investigation and further updates will be posted to this column as they are made available.
[Image via Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images News]