If you’re worried about intelligent robots taking over the planet, don’t be. Self-driving cars are here to take them down.
Although, you might have to start preparing for self-driving cars to wipe out humanity instead.
In what’s possibly the most futuristic story ever, a driverless Tesla knocked down an autonomous robot after the computerised victim journeyed into the road.
The incident happened on Paradise Road, Las Vegas on Sunday night (January 6), as engineers transported a number of the robots to a display booth ahead of CES – an annual trade show which advertises itself as ‘the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace.’
The robot was a v4 model from Promobot; part of a collection of ‘autonomous robot[s] designed for business purposes’, which are rentable for $2,000 a day.
The Promobot website reads:
It is able to communicate with people on any topic, recognize faces, answer questions, move around avoiding obstacles, move its arms and head, show various materials on its display and integrate with third-party devices and systems. [sic]
They perform the functions of administrators, promoters, hostesses, Museum guides, consultants, concierges, and many others.
After Sunday’s collision, the firm revealed one of their creations had been ‘killed’ as the robots made their way to the booth at around 7pm, when the bot strayed out of line and into the parking lot roadway where it was struck by a Tesla Model S.
The car was operating in autonomous mode, though according to the Mail Online, there was a passenger on board. The car continued driving for another 50 metres after the accident before finally coming to a stop.
Now, I’m not saying for certain the robot had become self aware and was trying to escape from its life as a smiling servant, but I’m just going to leave it there for your consideration.
While I’m quite confident in my theory, other people believe the incident was actually an over-the-top PR stunt from the firm – though it’s unlikely Elon Musk knew anything about it. The crash doesn’t exactly do much to promote the safety of Tesla’s driverless cars.
Promobot explained, as the two futuristic creations collided the robot was tipped on to its side, causing ‘serious damage’ which is likely irreparable.
The injured bot was unable to be displayed at CES as parts of its body, head, arm mechanisms, and movement platform were destroyed.
According to the Mail Online, Oleg Kivokurtsev, Promobot’s Development Director, spoke about the incident, saying:
Of course we are vexed. We brought this robot here from Philadelphia to participate at CES.
Now it neither cannot participate in the event or be recovered.
We will conduct an internal investigation and find out why the robot went to the roadway.
Tesla passenger George Caldera explained:
There was nobody there, no men, no cars. I switched this Tesla into a self-driving mode and it started to move. And wow! A robot on the track!
I thought the flivver would come round, but it bumped straightly into the it! [sic] I am so sorry, the robot looks cute. And my sincere apologies to the engineers.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.