These Robots And Their Makers Are Being Sued For “Killing” A Technician

car robots
Image: Wikimedia

Short Bytes: William Holbrook, the husband of a technician Wanda Holbrook, has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of robots installed at Ventra Ionia Main, an automobile parts maker in Michigan. In a tragic incident, in 2015, Wanda Holbrook was crushed by a robot on an assembly line. The suit demands that the companies must be held liable for the incident.

In July 2015, Wanda Holbrook was trapped by robotic machinery and killed. Holbrook, a maintenance technician, was performing her routine duties on an assembly line at Ventra Ionia Main. This incident was similar to another accident that involved the death of a 22-year-old man in a Volkswagen production plant in Germany.

Holbrook’s job involved inspection and adjustment of processes on the assembly line at the bumper and trailer hitch-making company.

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One day, when she was in the plant’s six-cell section, a robot started behaving unexpectedly and took her by surprise. Due to the safety doors, the robot shouldn’t have moved. But, somehow, it loaded the hardware onto her head and crushed it.

On March 7, Holbrook’s husband, William Holbrook, filed a wrongful death complaint, Quartz reports. The Michigan federal court filing names the 5 robotic companies responsible for the integration of machines and parts used in the plant.

The lawsuit says that the robot should’ve never entered the section 140. “A failure of one or more of defendants’ safety systems or devices had taken place, causing Wanda’s death,” the lawsuit alleges,” lawsuit adds

William Holbrook claims that robots designed and installed by companies–Prodomax, Flex-N-Gate, FANUC, Nachi, and Lincoln Electric–were not “properly designed, manufactured or tested, and not fit for use.”

The lawsuit further argues that the companies should be held liable and forced to pay the damages. This case is currently awaiting trial.

So, what are your opinions on the current state of robotic security and industries? Don’t forget to share your views with us.

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Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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