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Last week, a security robot at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto hit and ran over a small boy, according to his parents. The 16-month old toddler Harwin Cheng was reportedly knocked in the head by the 5-foot, 300-pound robot before it ran over his right foot.
His mother Tiffany explained in an interview with Eyewitness News that the robot did not seem to notice her son at all during the frightening encounter, hitting her son on the head causing him to fall flat on the floor before running over his leg.
While Harwin is suffering from a swollen right leg and a couple of scrapes, his parents told Eyewitness News that fortunately none of his bone were broken. Eyewitness News reports that the same model robot was responsible for injuring another child just days before Harwin’s run-in.
What is ironic is that the robot responsible for injuring the boy is billed by its manufacturer, Knightscope Inc., as a security crime-fighting device. The dome-shaped droid, which is evocative of R2-D2, is meant to intimidate criminals and avert illegal behavior in its vicinity, using real-time data streams and sensors to detect criminal activity, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The robot, dubbed the K5, reaches top speeds of 1 mph and can sense objects in its vicinity as close to an inch away, as the Los Angeles Times reports. Apparently, this time around the K5 failed to sense the child in its path.
Knightscope Inc. has offered a public apology for the incident and has since recalled the robots from the Palo Alto mall.