A wise man once declared: “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” But a mall security robot apparently hasn’t been reading up on his Isaac Asimov, as parents of a 16-month-old boy in Palo Alto, CA say the bot knocked their son to the ground and just kept on rolling.
The boy wasn’t seriously injured in the incident at the Stanford Shopping Center last Thursday and didn’t suffer any broken bones (though the robot ran over his foot, causing it to swell, his parents said) ABC-7 reports, but now his parents just want to spread the word so others don’t get hurt.
The Knightscope K5 — at five feet tall and 300 pounds — is designed to alert authorities to abnormal noises, known criminals, or sudden environmental changes. According to the boy’s parents, after the bot knocked him to the ground, it didn’t pause.
“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,” his mom told ABC 7. “He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries,” she added.
Stanford Shopping Center said in a statement (via San Jose Mercury News) that the robots are being taken off their beat for the time being.
“We are investigating this incident thoroughly, and the K5 units have been docked until the investigation is complete,” the mall.
Knightscope told Gizmodo in a statement that the report that one of its machines could have injured someone is “absolutely horrifying.”
“Many of our team members are parents and understand the importance of protecting our children at all costs,” Stacy D. Stephens, Knightscope’s Vice President Marketing and Sales said in the statement, adding that out of the 35,000 hours and 25,000 miles Knightscope machines have run already, 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,” the company said. “Our core mission is to ensure public safety, and we are taking this report very seriously.”
Knightscope says it’s reached out to the boy’s mother to invite her to the office to meet the team, and to offer an apology to her and her son directly, but that the company hadn’t heard back from her yet.