Robot Runs Over Toddler In Silicon Valley Shopping Center — Burly Security Bot Injures Child And Continues On Indifferently

A robot ran over a toddler in a shopping center in Silicon Valley. The 16-month-old boy was knocked down by a burly 300-pound security bot that continued on with utter indifference, claim the parents. The child suffered a swollen foot and scrapes across his body due to the autonomous security surveillance machine.

The incident reportedly occurred at a shopping center in Palo Alto, California. The robot allegedly injured the toddler. The security bot first knocked the boy down and then almost ran over the child, claimed Tiffany Teng, the mother of 16-month-old Harwin.

“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward.”

She added that her toddler did not suffer any broken bones, but the encounter might have been even deadlier had the father not pulled the boy to safety in the nick of time. Although the security robot knocked down the boy, it did not halt and could have certainly run over the child if his father hadn’t intervened. The injuries were quite painful, continued Ms. Teng.

“He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries.”

The parents of the child fully intend to spread the word of caution and ask people to be on their guard. The security robot in question works at Stanford Shopping Center. It stands about five feet tall weighs a hefty 300 pounds. It has a smaller sibling called K3, which was recently adopted by ride-hailing company Uber.

While a friendly-looking robot nonchalantly strolling in a mall is slightly amusing to shoppers, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with it, reported ABC 7.

The robots deployed to guard the shopping center in California are built by a company called Knightscope located in Mountain View, reported the Huffington Post. Incidentally, these are no ordinary robots that are merely aware of their surroundings.

The model that hit the toddler is technically referred to as K5. The robot is packed with multiple sensors, including invisible lasers and thermal imaging. Besides artificial 360-degree vision offered by its on-board cameras, the robot also has air quality sensors as well as a microphone. Additionally, the robot can also read and decipher license plates. Essentially the robot is claimed to be a completely autonomous unit that can patrol large areas while always watching and listening for suspicious activity.

The maker of the security robot promises their creations can intelligently see or detect criminal activities. Despite being packed with cutting-edge technology, the robot isn’t equipped with any machinery to handle criminal activity. The bot can merely alert authorities in case it senses abnormal noises, sudden environmental changes, or identifies known criminals.

It is truly concerning that despite being packed with sensors, the K5 couldn’t detect a toddler. Such behavior from a mall security robot is disconcerting, shared Ashle Gerrard, a regular at the shopping center.

“Garage doors nowadays, we’re just in a day in age where everything has some sort of a sensor.”

It is not immediately clear, but it is quite likely the robot developed some internal snag or some sensor malfunctioned that prevented it from detecting a human in its way. However, the boy’s parents said a human security guard told them another child was similarly injured by the same security robot a few days earlier.

According to the makers of the K5 security robot, the machine also affects the psychology of would-be criminals. Stacy Stephens, Knightscope’s VP of marketing, said the K5 would generate “the gut-wrenching feeling of an intimidating physical presence” in criminals when they come up against the 300-pound robot, reported Popular Mechanics.

While intimidation is subjective, a child got injured when the security robot didn’t halt when the toddler was in its way.

[Image via Shutterstock]