Killer Robots Are Nothing New

A robot that can kill people? It sounds scary, right? The truth is that killer robots have been around for quite some time.

The first killer robot

Robert Williams died January 25, 1979. He was the first known human to be killed by a robot. Williams had climbed a storage shelf at the Ford Motor Company Flat Rock Casting Plant to retrieve parts. He was standing where he shouldn’t have been standing, and a robot arm struck him down. Accidentally, of course.

They kill but they’re not killers

Industrial robots cause less than one death per year, but it does happen. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports 28 deaths caused by industrial robot accidents since 1984.

Most accidents involving industrial robots occur because of a mistake made by human workers. An employee climbs a storage shelf, or goes behind a barrier, or fails to switch off a machine before trying to fiddle with something. They aren’t the result of a robot “going rogue”.

Industrial machines are big, fast, powerful, and dangerous. We program these robots to execute a task as quickly and efficiently as possible, and that’s what they do. They’re not supposed to worry about people getting in their way. We put them behind a safety barrier, and we’re supposed to stay out of their way.

The real killer robots

Of course, people aren’t talking about industrial robots when they refer to killer robots. The killer robots that they’re referring to include unmanned drones and automated weaponry.

While we don’t have killer robots roaming the earth, it’s a subject that the United Nations’ Convention on Conventional Weapons takes seriously enough to have a conversation about them.

That type of killer robot is most definitely new, and absolutely terrifying.

Keep your factory robots from becoming killer robots. Prioritize maintenance, preventive inspection, and safety protocol to ensure that your factory floor continues to be a safe work environment. Call 479-422-0390 or contact us for support for Indramat systems.