A robot at a car parts manufacturer went rogue, trapped and killed a maintenance technician working at the assembly line in Michigan. The robot was not supposed to be in the area, but somehow it got out of its designated work field, and entered the section where technician Wanda Holbrook was working. The robot then hit her head, crushing her skull between a hitch assembly it was attempting to place.
The incident occurred in July 2015, but the 57-year-old victim's widower, William Holbrook just filed a federal suit last week. He is suing robotics companies Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, FANUC, Nachi, and Lincoln Electric on allegations including negligence and defective design. The robot was not supposed to have entered the area and kill a human worker, according to a suit.
Before she was trapped by the rogue robotic machinery and pronounced dead at the scene, Wanda had worked in machinery at the Ventra Ionia Mains plant in for 12 years. According to the complaint, she was "working in either section 140 or 150 within the ‘100’ cell, when a robot from section 130 took Wanda by surprise" and crushed her head. Co-workers eventually realized something was wrong and found Ms Holbrook by the robot and dead from severe head trauma.
According to the Independent, her death took her family and friends by surprise. Her devastated husband, three children, grandchildren and dozens of co-workers filled the the church at her funeral. Lincoln Electric have offered condolences to Holbrook’s family but did not give any comment on the suit.
Although unusual, the first death caused by robots is thought to have happened in 1979, when a production-line robot at a Ford factory in Flat Rock hit and killed a worker by the arm. The fact that these deaths appear to be traditional industrial accident does not dissuade apocalypse theorists, the Daily News reported. Some even take the incident as a Cain and Abel moment between robots and humans, despite having no evidence that the robot has an advance artificial intelligence system.