CES is off with a bang this year. Literally.
According to a press release that was just posted, a Tesla Model S hit and destroyed an autonomous Promobot model v4 on January 6th.
The name might ring a bell: we’ve told you about Promobot’s robot earlier in December, when we introduced him to you as the robot who shook hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin and is capable of recognizing over 20 emotions.
The incident in question took place around 7 p.m when the Promobot engineers were transporting the robots to the Congress Hall in order to prepare the company’s booth for the CES 2019.
The robots were all moving in line but one rebellious electric soul missed its way somehow and drove to the roadway by the Congress Hall’s parking lot. At that moment, it was hit by a Tesla car with Autopilot technology.
The Tesla car continued moving in spite of the impact and only stopped some fifty meters away from the accident.
According to the passenger who was in the car at that time, George Caldera, he was trying out the Full Self-Driving Capability mode upgrade and decided to test it in an area that seemed empty and quiet enough for the car not to pose any danger to anyone.
“There was nobody there, no men, no cars. I switched the Tesla into self-driving mode and it started to move. ” Caldera said “And wow! A robot on the track! I thought a flivver came round, […] it bumped straight into it! I am so sorry, the robot looks cute. And my sincere apologies to the engineers.”
The robot did not get off easy: it suffered some serious damage, with the arms, the movement platform and the head completely destroyed. Unfortunately, there is no way the robot will be restored at the moment, so we will not get to see it take part in the exhibition.
“Of course we are vexed.” said Oleg Kivojurtsev, Promobot’s Development Director “We brought this robot here from Philadelphia to participate at CES. Now it cannot participate in the event nor be recovered. We will conduct an internal investigation and find out why the robot went to the roadway.”
At the moment this article is being written, the Nevada Police Department is still investigating the incident.
Tech The Lead is currently at CES and we will be speaking to Promobot: we promise to find out if there’s any hope of recovery for the adventurous robot, and more.