Investigation Launched After Robot Kills Worker at Volkswagen Plant

An industrial robot killed a 22-year-old Volkswagen contractor, officials said.

ByAlyssa Newcomb
July 02, 2015, 1:50 PM
PHOTO: A worker polishes a Volkswagen logo on a Golf 6 automobile during final inspection in the Volkswagen AG factory in Wolfsburg, Germany in this Nov. 14, 2008 file photo.
A worker polishes a Volkswagen logo on a Golf 6 automobile during final inspection in the Volkswagen AG factory in Wolfsburg, Germany in this Nov. 14, 2008 file photo.
Adam Berry/Bloomberg/Getty Images

— -- An investigation has been launched into the death of a 22-year-old contractor this week at a Volkswagen plant in Germany after an industrial robot grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate, officials said.

"Earlier this week a contractor was injured while installing some machinery in the Kassel factory. He died later in hospital from his injuries and our thoughts are with his family," a Volkswagen representative told ABC News today in a statement. "We are of course carrying out a full investigation into the incident and cannot comment further at this time."

Prosecutors are also investigating the case to determine if any charges should be filed, according to German media reports.

While it may sound like the start of a robot uprising in a Hollywood movie, Volkswagen spokesman Heiko Hillwig told the Associated Press earlier that human error was likely the cause of the accident, according to an initial investigation.

Another contractor was present at the time of the accident, however, Hillwig declined to give the AP more details about the case due to an ongoing investigation.

The robot involved in the incident is used to perform various assembly tasks and works in a confined area of the plant, Hillwig said.

The identity of the victim has not been released.

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