Death by robot

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Death by robot refers to accidental or human error deaths caused by interaction with robotics. As man and autonomous machines become more common, instances of injuries and death will continue to rise. Newer factory technology include collaborative robots that work side-by-side with workers, thus the chance for death is minimized.

Ariel drones are mechanical devices guided by a computer. Thousands of people, terrorists and innocent victims, have met an untimely death from the air.[1] Fifteen years after widespread adoption, surgical robots have been linked to 144 deaths.[2]

Autopilot and driverless, autonomous cars will become common place eventually. The industry claims it will reduce automobile deaths but that technology may just decide who lives and who dies. A Florida man is the first person to die by self-driving automobile.[3] A Dutch man died when his autopilot driven Tesla crashed into a tree. [4]

In the July 7th massacre of police officers in Dallas, law enforcement used a robot to detonate a bomb that killed suspect Micah Johnson.[5]

Worker deaths

  • A German contractor working in a Volkswagen plant was picked up and crushed to death by a robot.[6]
  • A man working on a robotic welding arm was pierced to death in India.[7]
  • In 1979, a 25-year-old Ford Motor assembly line worker was killed when a robotic arm struck him in the head. The first known Death by robot.
  • In 1981, man was killed as he tried to fix a robot at a Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant in Japan when it pushed him into a grinder.


  1. 41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed The Guardian, November 24, 2014
  2. Robotic surgery linked to 144 deaths in the US, BBC, July 25, 2015
  3. Tesla driver killed in crash while using car's 'Autopilot', Yahoo, June 30, 2016
  4. Man killed in horror 'autopilot' Tesla crash when vehicle smashed into tree, Mirror UK, September 8, 2016
  5. The Latest: NAACP head calls for policies after Texas attack, Yahoo, July 8, 2016
  6. Robot kills factory worker after picking him up and crushing him against a metal plate at Volkswagen plant in Germany, DailyMail.UK, July 1, 2015
  7. Terminator redux? Robot kills a man at Haryana's Manesar factory, AUgust 12, 2015