Self-driving Tesla 'kills' robot in Las Vegas crash, raising suspicions about Russian firm

Russian-made Promobot robot has previously met and shaken hands with Vladimir Putin

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 09 January 2019 13:07 GMT
Self-driving Tesla 'crashes' into robot

A self-driving Tesla car has allegedly crashed into and "killed" a robot in Las Vegas in an apparent hit-and-run incident.

The Russian-built Promobot robot was filmed falling over as a Tesla passed it, though doubts have been raised over whether it was a publicity stunt.

A video of the incident was posted to YouTube by Promobot, receiving more than half a million views and prompting speculation over whether it was an elaborate hoax.

The video's description states: "A self-driving Tesla Model S hit and destroyed an autonomous Promobot the robot model v4 in Las Vegas in a car accident."

Promobot shared the video with Tesla boss Elon Musk on Twitter but the billionaire entrepreneur is yet to respond.

Some viewers of the video have pointed out that the Tesla does not appear to actually strike the robot, while others have pointed out that there appears to be a rope attached to the robot.

A spokesperson for Promobot could not immediately be reached for comment but the firm's development director Oleg Kivokurtsev said in a press release that he was "vexed" by the damage to the robot.

The Promobot robot, a version of which has previously shaken hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is irreparably damaged, according to Mr Kivokirtsev.

"We brought this robot here from Philidelphia to participate at CES. Now it neither cannot participate in the event or be recovered," he said.

"We will conduct an internal investigation and find out why the robot went to the roadway."

A video shared by Russian robotics firm Promobot showed a Tesla knocking over a robot
A video shared by Russian robotics firm Promobot showed a Tesla knocking over a robot (Promobot)

Promobot claims that Nevada police attended the scene following the incident, while the Tesla driver was reported by the firm as saying that the vehicle was in Autopilot mode.

“There was nobody there, no men, no cars. I switched this Tesla into a self-driving mode and it started to move. And wow! A robot on the track," , said George Caldera, a Tesla passenger, according to Promobot's press release.

"I thought the flivver would come round, but it bumped straightly into the it! I am so sorry, the robot looks cute. And my sincere apologies to the engineers."

The Independent has reached out to Tesla for comment.

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