News & Politics

Robot Mall Cop Attacks Child

The robots look like Daleks. Very concerning.

A robotic mall security device smashed into a child, knocking the toddler down screaming “exterminate! exterminate!” at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. The mall has temporarily sidelined the robots.

“We are investigating this incident thoroughly, and the K5 units have been docked until the investigation is complete,” the mall said in a statement Tuesday.

On the left, a Dalek. On the right, a K5 security device.

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The robot was built by the start-up company Davros Knightscope and uses cameras and sensors to report suspicious  activity and deter crime.

San Jose resident Tiffany Teng said she was walking with her husband and their 16-month-old son, Harwin Cheng, when the robot collided with the child, knocking him face down on the ground. Instead of stopping, Teng said, the robot proceeded to roll over Harwin’s right foot, leaving swelling and a scrape on the child’s leg.

Teng said that she screamed and pushed against the robot to stop its movement forward, but without success — her husband had to pull the child away. Harwin suffered no serious injuries, but was crying “like crazy” after the incident, she said.

“Right now I don’t think I would ever go there again,” Teng said.

The mall had no comment about any “previous incidents” with the robot cops and declined to say how many robot cops it had on its robot cop police force.

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Stacy Stephens, Knightscope’s vice president of marketing and sales, said via email the company takes the issue very seriously and had invited the victims to meet the company’s team.

“Hearing a report that one of our machines may have injured someone is absolutely horrifying,” Stephens wrote. “Many of our team members are parents and understand the importance of protecting our children at all costs.”

Stephens also said she has not heard of any similar incidents with the company’s machines.  The robots are located throughout California in places like Qualcomm in San Diego and Northland Controls in Fremont. And the planet Skaro.