A mall security robot, reportedly knocked down and ran over a toddler at a Palo Alto shopping mall on Thursday to the horror of the parents who witnessed the incident.
Developed by Silicon Valley-based Knightscope, Inc., the five-foot-tall, 300-pound machine called the Knightscope K5 was stationed at Stanford Shopping Center and doing its rounds when it had a collision with 16-month-old Harwin Cheng.
According to ABC 7 News, the autonomous robot bumped into the child and then ran over his right foot, leaving it swollen. The parents said that their son was lucky that he didn’t suffer any broken bones.
“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,” said Tiffany Teng, the boy’s mom. “He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries,” Teng said. The boy also sustained a scrape on his leg.
— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016
Harwin’s parents claimed that according to a security guard, another child was hurt from the same unit days ago. Worried that the K5 could hurt other small children, the parents shared their story so that other shoppers will be careful when shopping with their kids at Stanford Shopping Center.
Programmed to predict crimes in schools, businesses, and neighborhoods, K5 uses video cameras, thermal imaging sensors, a laser range finder, radar, air quality sensors and a microphone to detect irregularities in the area. If it detects any abnormal noise, temperature change or even appearance of known criminals, it will notify authorities.
Shoppers were quick to point out however that it didn’t seem to detect the young boy. “Garage doors nowadays, we’re just in a day in age where everything has some sort of a sensor,” said shopper Ashle Gerrard.
“Maybe they have to work out the sensors more. Maybe it stopped detecting or it could be buggy or something,” another shopper, Ankur Sharma opined.