A security mall robot where an incident a toddler was knocked down and injured have decommissioned, leaving the machine unemployed and with a bad track record, MarketWatch reported.
The autonomous security robot at the Stanford Shopping Center has been temporarily pulled from use following an incident reports of a toddler that was being knocked down to the ground and then ran the kid over by the said K5 robot. The decision of the mall officials said that, at present, it will only be a temporary one, The Chronicle reports.
Since Knightscope Inc., that makes the robots, claimed that the Star-Wars-like robot is safe and has clocked thousands of hours of operation and human-robot interaction without injuring anyone, the company doesn’t deny the accident occurred, but it characterized the incident as a freak accident.
“The robot hit my son’s head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” Tiffany Teng told ABC 7, following the ill-fated encounter. “He was crying like crazy and he never cries.”
After the incident happened, Stanford Shopping Center has taken its K5 robots offline.
The said mall robots have become popular with mall guests as they take “robot selfies” and give “robot hugs” but the toddler’s parents clearly not feeling well and becomes upset after hearing a member of the Stanford Shopping Center security staff saying that the robot had recently hit another child on that certain week.
Knightscope issued a field incident report claiming that the child “left the vicinity of his guardians and began running toward the machine. The machine veered to the left to avoid the child, but the child ran backwards directly into the front quart of the machine, at which point the machine stopped and the child fell to the ground.”
“The machine’s sensors registered no vibration alert and the machine motors did not fault as they would when encountering an obstacle. Once the guardians retrieved the child and the path was clear, the machine resumed patrolling. The entire incident lasted a few seconds and a scrape on the child’s leg and a bruise with minor swelling were reported,” the incident report stated.
The toddler’s mother reported through an email after the incident questioning what if the robot will injured another child and the shopping center did not take action at that time.
Knightscope denied that the robots, that travel at about 1 mph have had any other accidents.
Knightscope markets the robot as having a commanding presence with $6.50 rental rate an hour. The robot which scans the environment looking for unusual activity uses 30 sensors to detect movement and sound from an inch away to more than 300 feet, as Knightscope stated in an incident report. The robot has 360-degree view is being uploaded in real time to a security network which provides human security guards with data they can access from their smartphones regardless of where they are in the mall.
“There have been thousands of encounters with adults, children and both large and small pets documented daily on social media that have also taken place without any reported incidents,” the company stated.
Knightscope said that their representatives reached out to the family on numerous occasions without reply.
“The company is, therefore, publicly extending a formal apology for the freakish accident and is extending an invitation to the family to meet at Knightscope’s headquarters in Mountain View to learn more about the technology,” the company statement stated.
But the toddler’s mother seems don’t want the company’s invitation of a tour inside Knightscope’s headquarters in Mountain View saying, “I don’t want a tour. All I want is an answer why this robot didn’t stop. It’s not Disneyland,” she said.
Knightscope’s Vice President for Marketing and Sales, Stacy D. Stephens said that she and her team were shocked at the toddler’s machine encounter.
“Hearing a report that one of our machines may have injured someone is absolutely horrifying,” she wrote.
“Many of our team members are parents and understand the importance of protecting our children at all costs. To date, Knightscope machines have run for more than 35,000 hours and traveled over 25,000 miles, and this is the first report of any such incident.”
“Similar to every other technology company in Silicon Valley, Knightscope strives to make improvements on a daily basis,” she continued.
“Our core mission is to ensure public safety, and we are taking this report very seriously.”