A robot crushed a man to death after it mistook him for a box of vegetables

Accident World
  • An industrial robot in South Korea mistook a man for a box of vegetables, according to reports.
  • The robotic arm lifted him and pushed him against a conveyor belt, crushing his face and chest.
  • The man was hospitalized and later died of his injuries, Yonhap news agency reported.

The accident took place while a company worker in his 40s was at the center inspecting the robotic arm’s sensors, according to BBC News.


Citing police officials, Yonhap reported that the machine appeared to have confused him for a box of vegetables, consequently lifting him and pushing his body against the conveyor belt.


The robot crushed his face and chest, according to police, per Yonhap.


The victim, whose name has not been released, was hospitalized but succumbed to his injuries, according to the news agency.

Kang Jin-gi, who heads the investigations department at Gosong Police Station, told NBC News that the robot was not an “advanced, artificial intelligence-powered robot, but a machine that simply picks up boxes and puts them on pallets.”


He said police are investigating if the robot had any defects or safety issues.


Another police official, who did not want to be named, told NBC News that the incident could be down to human error.


He said the robot’s sensors are programmed to detect boxes and surveillance footage appeared to show the man walking toward the machine with a box in his hands, likely triggering it, per NBC News.

Insider was unable to reach the Donggoseong Export Agricultural Complex, which owns the center. But in a statement provided to the BBC, a plant official called for a “precise and safe” system to be established.

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