A humanoid robot on its way to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has been “hit and destroyed” by a self-driving Tesla.
The $2,000 per day rentable model V4 robot, from manufacturer Promobot, was hit by a Tesla Model S vehicle on Paradise Road in Las Vegas, as it made its way to the Congress Hall exhibition centre with a fleet of other robots.
At the time of the accident, on Sunday 6 January, the group of identical robots were travelling in a line accompanied by the company’s engineers.
Driver had turned on self-driving mode
According to Promobot, one robot “missed its way and drove to the roadway of the street parking lot”, where it was “hit and destroyed” by the vehicle and tipped onto its side.
The Tesla car continued driving along the road for 50 metres before coming to a halt. The driver of the car had apparently turned on the full self-driving mode, believing it to be a quiet area. After the incident, Nevada police briefly attended the scene.
This particular model of autonomous robot is commonly used for commercial purposes, with the company claiming there are currently 213 robots working in customer-facing retail for businesses such as telecoms giant Vodafone.
V4 is able to recognise and remember people, perform voice commands, recall what it has been told as a written report, and crucially, move along a given trajectory.
Promobot to conduct internal investigation
In a statement on its website Promobot said that the robot “suffered serious damage”.
“Parts of the body, the mechanisms of the arms, the movement platform and a head are destroyed,” said the company. The robot was no longer be able to take part in the tech event.
“Of course we are vexed. We brought this robot here from Philadelphia to participate at CES,” said Promobot development director Oleg Kivokurtsev. “Now it can neither participate in the event nor be recovered.”
“We will conduct an internal investigation and find out why the robot went to the roadway,” he said.
The products on display at CES this year have been overshadowed by a sexism row. A female-led technology team, Lora DiCarlo, were initially praised in the robotics category for their female sex toy Osé, before having their award taken away as the product was deemed “immoral”.
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