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Tesla Engineer Injured in Bloody Robot Attack at Texas Factory

A robot designed to grab aluminum car parts dug its claws into the back and arm of an engineer at Texas Tesla factory.

By Cassidy Ward

Before Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza was the setting for one the most successful modern video game franchises – Five Nights at Freddy’s – and a Hollywood movie adaptation (streaming now on Peacock!), it was the site of a series of grizzly in-game murders. Those killings, always of abducted children, were never solved. Their bodies left to decay in and their souls left to meld with the animatronic characters that call Freddy’s home.

Those robots, now imbued with all of the twisted and hateful desires of the unsatisfied dead, exact their vengeance on anyone within snatching distance. Of course, that’s all just an entertaining fiction. Real world robots don’t have motives except for the ones we give them, and they don’t attack people without warning. At least, they shouldn’t, but that’s just what happened at a Tesla factory in Texas.

Tesla Engineer Attacked by Robot’s Metal Claws

The incident occurred back in 2021 at the Giga Texas Tesla factory near Austin, Texas, according to a report from News Nation. The accident happened in part of the factory where freshly pressed aluminum car parts come off the line.

New parts begin as thin sheets of aluminum which are then cast in molds to achieve the desired shape. When parts come out of those molds, they still have the leftover edges of the aluminum sheet sticking off the sides. These extra bits, called flashing, have to be removed and that’s where the robots come in. A trio of robots are responsible for removing new parts from their aluminum cages with their gripping metal claws.

Engineers were working in the area, updating software which controls the robots, when the attack took place. Two of the robots were turned off but a third remained active and continued its normal operations. Witnesses reported that the robot dug its claws into the back and arm of an engineer, leaving a “trail of blood” in its wake, via The Information.

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Tesla is required to report all injuries to the state and Travis County in order to continue receiving tax breaks, and the incident report for the 2021 robot attack was reviewed by the Daily Mail. According to the report, the incident left the engineer with an open wound on their hand, but the injuries did not require any time off.

Injuries at the Texas factory are more common than average by industry standards. According to reports, roughly 1 in 21 employees were injured at the Giga Texas factory in 2022, compared to 1 in 30 across the automotive industry, according to the New York Post. The dangers inherent in increased human-robot interactions are a growing concern for roboticists who are scrambling to develop better systems to prevent exactly this sort of accident.

In the meantime, it’s up to us to see the gaps the robots can’t see if we want to keep ourselves (and the employees we are responsible for) safe. Otherwise, in life as in Five Nights at Freddy’s, we will be the architects of our own robotic nightmare.

Catch Five Nights at Freddy’s streaming now on Peacock.

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