The alleged attack happened in 2021 in the Giga Texas factory near Austin, Texas, but the claims only surfaced in recent months. It was said that blood was left splattered on the floor after the robot arm – which is meant to move aluminium car parts – dug into the worker while he was programming software for other robots.
But Musk denies the reports, stating the attack was not carried out by one of the humanoid Optimus robots as was suggested in some reports. He described it as “truly shameful” for the media to bring up the reports from years back, adding that it was actually a different robot which attacked the worker – not an Optimus model.
“Truly shameful of the media to dredge up an injury from two years ago due to a simple industrial Kuka robot arm (found in all factories) and imply that it is due to Optimus now,” wrote Musk, responding to someone who shared an article online. Another person who musk responded to in the thread said: “‘Attacks’ implies it made a decision. That robot did exactly as it was programmed to do. Apparently, the worker thought it was off when it wasn’t.”
It is reported that the engineer believed the robot was switched off while programming the software – but that it hadn’t been correctly shut down. One witness to the incident quickly hit the emergency stop button when the robotic arm sunk into the worker, while another witness said the engineer “fell a couple of feet down a chute designed to collect scrap aluminium, leaving a trail of blood behind him”, according to the Sun. The injury was reportedly first revealed in 2021 when an incident report was filed with federal regulators.
Musk’s response was prompted by a Daily Mail article which used photos of Tesla’s Optimus robots in its article – alongside Kuka robot arms. And it came not long after the richest man in the world – who topped the Forbes Rich List in 2022 – shared a post about “cancel culture” earlier in the day, a topic he enjoys speaking on.
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The post from Tesla Owners Silicon Valley said: “We need to cancel cancel culture. We should be about building others up rather than tearing people down for a moment in the sun. People always show who their true colours are. Just let them show you who they are by their actions. What’s insane is people who attack or try to bring down others serving a community and helping others.”
It was a difficult day financially for Musk, who lost a whopping $5.9 billion in just 24 hours according to the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, which tracks the losses and earnings of billionaires every day. Despite this, Forbes still lists him as the richest man in the world with a total net worth of $254.7 billion.