A toddler following his parents around the Stanford Shopping Center was run over by a five-foot-tall, 300-pound robot that was actually designed to keep an eye on shoppers.
The robot was made by Knightscope, a startup whose robot alerts lawmakers whenever it detects strange activity in the area it’s supposed to protect. According to Tiffany Teng, one of these autonomous mall cops ran over her 16-month-old son Harwin Cheng, knocking him to the floor and giving him some minor injuries.
“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,” Harwin’s mother, Tiffany Teng, told ABC7 News.
It’s not hard to imagine how the robot missed Cheng — it stands much taller than he does, and the whole point of the thing is that it runs itself. There was probably a relatively small glitch in the software it uses to navigate the world that caused it to run into Cheng, not realize that it did so, and simply continue on its path.
Here’s a dramatic video from Knightscope showing what its robots are made for: