K5 autonomous robot model
Courtesy of Universal Protection Service/PR NEWSWIRE
By Madeline Farber
July 13, 2016

This article has been updated to reflect comment from Knightscope.

After a 5-foot tall, 300 pound security robot reportedly knocked down and ran over a 16-month-old child at a shopping center in Palo Alto, Califo., the child’s parents are speaking out about the danger they feel the machine presents.

“The robot hit my son’s head, and he fell down facing down on the floor, and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,” the child’s mom, Tiffany Teng, told local ABC affiliate, ABC7.

The shopping center introduced the robot last year. It’s designed to alert authorities of shoplifters, among other things, according to ABC7.

Teng said her son was “crying like crazy” after the robot ran over his right foot, which swelled but was not broken, according to ABC7. Teng also told the station that a security guard told her another child was hurt from the same robot days before.

Stanford Shopping Center and Knightscope, the company that built the robot, did not respond to ABC7’s contact attempts, the station reported.

“Our first thoughts are for the family and we are thankful there were no serious injuries,” William Santana Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Knightscope, told Fortune in a prepared statement. “Our primary mission is to serve the public’s overall safety, and we take any circumstance that would compromise that mission very seriously.”

 

As robots enter the mainstream, more companies are turning to machines to replace human workers in less skilled professions. The co-founders of Skype recently launched a self-driving delivery robot in four European cities. The robots have been tested over 5,000 miles, encountering more than 400,000 people with no reported accidents.

Meanwhile, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s said he’d be happy to try out an employee-free operation with a handful of kitchen workers and computerization of all front-of-house procedures.

Fortune has reached to Stanford Shopping Center and will update the story if it responds.

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