Robot Kills Worker at Volkswagen Plant in Germany

Robotic arms in a car factory. Nataliya Hora/Shutterstock

A robot has crushed a man to death at a Volkswagen production plant in Germany. The company confirmed the death on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old German worker was a technician installing a stationary robot, which is programmed to complete a series of tasks in the assembly process by grabbing parts and manipulating them. The incident occurred at the factory in Baunatal, which assembles car components for other plants. 

The robot grabbed and crushed the technician against a metal plate. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but later died of his injuries. Volkswagen has not released the man’s name.

But before you start believing this is an early sign of an impending robot apocalypse, Volkswagen spokesman Heiko Hillwig suggests that human error was to blame rather than a ‘rogue’ robot, the Associated Press reports. Workers in the plant are usually separated from the robots, which operate within a confined area, but in this instance, the victim was working on the robot inside the cage when he was attacked. Another worker who was present during the accident was not harmed, Hillwig said.

Currently, there isn’t a lot of information available on the details of the case, but it is being investigated by German authorities. The other worker who witnessed the incident has declined to give further details about the case while the investigation is ongoing. Prosecutors, who are looking into how the accident occurred, have yet to decide whether charges will be brought against anyone involved. 

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