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Robot Kills Man at Volkswagen Plant: Human Error or Malfunction?

Image: Robot Kills Man at Volkswagen Plant: Human Error or Malfunction?
In this March 8, 2010 file photo, welding robots assemble a bodywork of a Volkswagen's Golf VI car in a production line at the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 01:38 PM

A robot killed a man in a Volkswagen production plant in Germany on Monday under suspicious circumstances that leave prosecutors unsure whether or not to bring charges and, if so, against whom . . . or what.

The 22-year-old worker, who has gone unnamed, was working at the Volkswagen plant in Baunatal, just 63 miles north of Frankfurt, along with a team that was involved in setting up the stationary robot in a safety cage, according to The Associated Press.

All went according to plan until the robot suddenly grabbed the man, hit him in the chest, and pinned him against a metal slab, crushing him. Although resuscitation was attempted to revive him and save his life, the man later died in a hospital, according to USA Today.

Circumstances surrounding the worker’s unexpected and violent death remain unclear, although an investigation is currently underway, according to USA Today.

VW spokesman Heiko Hillwig indicated that initial conclusions from the investigation suggest that human error was to blame for the man’s death, rather than an inherent internal problem with the robot itself, which can be successfully programmed to perform a variety of tasks and jobs during the assembly line process, according to the AP. Hillwig also said that the robot usually operates within a confined area inside the plant, such as the safety cage in which the team had been attempting to set him up, as it grasps auto parts and manipulates them accordingly.

Another worker had been stationed nearby outside the cage at the time of the scuffle, according to the AP, although his name is unknown. Hillwig would not give out any more details concerning the case, due to the ongoing investigation.

Using robots in assembly line manufacturing is a rising trend, according to the Inquisitr. Volkswagen itself uses about one robot for every 10 human workers, and many of those robots with stellar records have progressed to the point where they can work outside of the confining safety cages.

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A robot killed a man in a Volkswagen production plant in Germany on Monday under suspicious circumstances that leave prosecutors unsure whether or not to bring charges and, if so, against whom . . . or what.
robot, kills, man, volkswagen, plant, charges
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2015-38-02
Thursday, 02 Jul 2015 01:38 PM
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