A technician has been killed by a robot in an accident at a Volkswagen plant near Kassel, Germany, reports the Financial Times.
According to the report, “a 21 year old external contractor was installing the robot together with a colleague when he was struck in the chest by the robot and pressed against a metal plate.” The technician, who has not been identified, later died of his injuries.
A Volkswagen spokesperson “stressed” to the Financial Times that this wasn’t a collaborative robot outside a safety cage that works alongside the other workers. This robot was inside a safety cage at the time of the accident. However, the technician was inside the safety cage at the time of the accident. The second worker was outside the cage and wasn’t harmed.
According to the local newspaper Hessische/Niedersachsische Allgemeine, the robot was being installed for a new electric motor production line.
According to the Financial Times, prosecutors are already investigating the incident. Volkswagen said the robot didn’t malfunction.
The automotive industry has been using robots in some capacity for quite some time, and in October 2014 Volkswagen said it would turn more to robots to help fix its shortage of new workers caused by retiring baby boomers.
This story is still developing, we’ll update with more details as they become available.