Kenji Urada

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Kenji Urada
Died (aged 37)
Known forFirst human killed by a robot in Japan

Kenji Urada (c. 1944 – July 4, 1981) was a Japanese factory worker who was killed by a robot. Urada is often incorrectly reported to be the first person killed by a robot,[1][2] but Robert Williams, a worker at the Ford Motor Company Flat Rock Casting Plant, had been killed by a robot over two years earlier, on January 25, 1979.[3]

Urada was a maintenance worker at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant in Akashi.[4][5] He died while checking a malfunctioning robot; after jumping over a safety barrier, which was designed to shut down power to the machine when open,[5] he apparently started the robot inadvertently. The robot, built by Kawasaki under a license from Unimation,[6] pinned him against an adjacent machine[1] and either crushed him[2] or stabbed him in the back.[7] Other workers in the factory were unable to stop the machine as they were unfamiliar with its operation.[5]

International newswire service UPI reported Urada was the first human killed by a robot on December 8, 1981.[5] The circumstances of his death were not made public until after an investigation by the Hyōgo labor standards bureau was completed.[5][7] The investigation concluded that workers were not sufficiently familiar with the machines and the machines were not sufficiently regulated. The robot that killed Urada was removed from the Akashi plant, and man-high fences were erected around the other two robots in the plant in the wake of the accident.[8]

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  1. ^ a b "Trust me, I'm a robot". The Economist. June 8, 2006. Retrieved 6 March 2007.
  2. ^ a b Graham-Rowe, Duncan (November 3, 2003). "Smart software helps robots dodge collisions". New Scientist. Retrieved 6 March 2007.
  3. ^ "$10 Million Awarded To Family Of U.S. Plant Worker Killed By Robot". Ottawa Citizen. August 11, 1983. p. 14. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Killer robot: Japanese worker first victim of technological revolution". The Deseret News. UPI. 8 December 1981. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Robot kills man". United Press International. UPI. 8 December 1981. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  6. ^ Neumann, Peter G. (18 October 1994). "2: Reliability and Safety Problems". Computer Related Risks. Addison-Wesley Professional. ISBN 9780321703163. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Robot kills worker". Milwaukee Journal. AP. December 8, 1981. p. 2. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  8. ^ Whymant, Robert (9 December 2014). "From the archive, 9 December 1981: Robot kills factory worker". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 June 2018.

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