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Friday, August 14, 2015

robot [not chitti] accidentally kills worker in Manesar factory !


Pepper is made by French firm Aldebaran Robotics, a subsidiary of the mobile carrier Softbank. In Dec last, Nescafe hired 1,000 Pepper robots to work across home appliance stores in Japan, where they help customers looking for a Nespresso coffee machine.  Pepper robots are also used in Softbank stores as shop assistants. Claims made by an expert in artificial intelligence predict that in less than five years, office jobs will disappear completely to the point where machines will replace humans.The idea that robots will one day be able to do all low-skilled jobs is not new.

Like what was perceived in Enthiran, the possibility or rather the apprehension of robots dominating human World is often discussed.  Stephen Hawking has warned that artificial intelligence has the potential to be the downfall of mankind. 'Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history,' he said writing in the Independent. 'Unfortunately, it might also be the last'

Unfortunately, sometimes accidents occur – newspaper reports in July 2015,  highlighted killing of a factory work by rogue Robot crushing him against a metal plate at Volkswagen plant in Germany.  In what could be the chilling overtones of a science fiction movie, a 22-year-old man was picked up and crushed by an automated arm while working on the production line.The incident, at a Volkswagen plant in Germany, is believed to be the first death in Europe caused by an industrial robot. But experts were quick to dispel any ideas that the tragedy could be seen as the darker side of science fiction becoming reality.They insisted the death was a result of human error and not any malfunction on the part of the robot.
The unfortunate victim was a contract worker at the car plant in Baunatal, near Kassel, central Germany, where 15,000 people are employed assembling gearboxes and other vehicle parts.He was installing a computer-operated production line for electronic motors.The robotic arm intended to lift machine parts seems to have grabbed him and crushed him against a large metal plate. The man suffered severe injuries to his chest, was resuscitated at the scene, but died from his injuries in hospital.  Years ago, a worker died after being struck in the head by the arm of a one-ton production-line robot at a Ford plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, US.

Robots turning against human is often portrayed in films and today’s TOI in a similar fashion reports of an accident stating it to be something straight out of a Terminator film. Sharp welding sticks jutting out of the robotic arm of a machine pierced a worker killing him at a factory at Manesar, near Delhi. The worker had apparently moved too close to the robot while adjusting a metal sheet that had come unstuck.

RamjiLal (24), from Unnao, UP, worked as a loader for SKH Metals, an auto ancillary company, at the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar. Lal was at work in the welding unit that has special-purpose machines and robotic welding lines. Around 63 workers and 39 robots were on duty when the accident took place."The robot is pre-programmed to weld metal sheets it lifts. One such sheet got dislodged and Lal reached from behind the machine to adjust it. This was when welding sticks attached to the pre-programmed device pierced Lal's abdomen," a co-worker said. Another shop floor colleague claimed that had Lal approached the robot from the front and hadn't stooped to adjust the sheet, the accident wouldn't have happened.He  was rushed to a nearby hospital but he was dead by the time he was wheeled in.

General secretary of MarutiUdyogKamgar Union, told TOI: "The accident occurred due to the negligence of the management. No effort has been made to make the robots accident proof. We want compensation and an inquiry into the incident." The union demanded safety measures put in place for all units using robots, he added.Preliminary investigation shows the victim got too close to the robot and was trapped. The robotic arm went through him and he died on the spot, police said. "We are looking at CCTV footage and gathering information from workers and the company," a police officer said.Angry workers halted work at the factory in protest and a meeting between workers and the management was underway at the time of filing this report, writes TOI.

German news agency had reported of the Volkswagen incident, that prosecutors were considering whether to bring charges, and if so, against whom !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13th Aug 2015.

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