A delivery robot manufactured by KiwiBot caught fire last week at the UC Berkeley campus. The cause was a defect battery. The fire was extinguished by a person with a fire extinguisher.
For more than a year the startup has been testing food deliveries with those autonomous delivery bots. A total of half a dozen companies are currently testing delivery robots in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Social networks quickly were full of the images of the burning KiwiBot and Berkeley students created a candle light vigil.
Even though the candle light vigil was taking this event more from a lighter side, we must not overlook that humans have always anthropomorphized machines and assigned human characteristics to them. The KiwiBot prominently features cute eyes on an LED display, which makes people adopt this technology faster and more willingly. This cuteness factor already had played a role in the design of Google’s Koala cars.
This article was also published in German.