Robotic security guard injures small toddler at shopping mall

PALO ALTO, CA (WCMH/AP) — A San Francisco Bay Area shopping center has temporarily docked its futuristic security robots after one of the mechanical guards reportedly ran into and hurt a toddler.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the 5-foot-tall, 300-pound robot collided with the 16-month-old child, knocking him face down on the ground. The robot then rolled over the boy’s right foot, leaving swelling and a scrape on his leg. No one else was injured.

“The safety of our shoppers is always our highest priority. We are investigating this incident thoroughly and the K-5 units have been docked until the investigation is complete,” a mall spokesperson said in a statement.

KRON-TV’s Gabe Slate spoke with Knightscope team, the company that makes these robots. They say the K-5 units have all kinds of sensors to avoid objects and people. Knightscope is looking into how this child might have circumvented the sensors, and the company will make alterations to the robots if necessary.

“We have clocked over 35,000 hours of operation, over 25,000 miles, and this is the first reported such incident, so to have an accident, or potential accident like this happen is something we are taking very very seriously,” Stacy Stephans of Knightscope said.

The 5-foot-tall, 300-pound robots are designed to assist mall security guards and other police officers in monitoring large areas.

“It can see, feel, hear and smell,” William Santana Li, chairman and CEO of Knightscope, told Bloomberg. “Think of it as smart eyes and ears for a private security guard or police officer to do their jobs much more effectively.”

The robots are used at other facilities, including Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers.

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