Robot Grabs, Crushes Man. “Prosecutors Were Considering Whether to Bring Charges, and if so, Against Whom.”

July 2nd, 2015

In a bizarre story from Germany, a robot at a VW plan, that was programmed to grab and manipulate auto parts, grabbed a human and crushed him.

A robot has killed a contractor at one of Volkswagen’s production plants inGermany, the automaker said Wednesday.

The man died Monday at the plant in Baunatal, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Frankfurt, VW spokesman Heiko Hillwig said.

The 22-year-old was part of a team that was setting up the stationary robot when it grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate, Hillwig said.

He said initial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process. He said it normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them.

Obviously this robot didn’t get past the first rule. In a reference to the questions of liability for torts committed by robots, the article closes:

German news agency dpa reported that prosecutors were considering whether to bring charges, and if so, against whom.

Against whom, or what?

This reminds me of an Onion story last year about Ohio replacing the lethal injection with the “humane new head-ripping-off-machine” that will automatically rip off the head of anyone that sits in the chair.