A Volkswagen factory worker has been killed by a robot that 'grabbed and crushed him against a metal plate.'
The 22-year-old man was setting up the stationary bot in a German production plant just north of Frankfurt.
Heiko Hillwig, a spokesperson for the manufacturer blamed the incident on "human error."
Speaking to AP, he said:
"Initial conclusions indicate that human error was to blame, rather than a problem with the robot, which can be programmed to perform various tasks in the assembly process.
"It normally operates within a confined area at the plant, grabbing auto parts and manipulating them."
The robot in question usually operates in a cage, allowing for a safe barrier between humans and their machine co-workers.
Its main task at the plant, that predominantly produces transmission and electric motors, is to grab and manipulate auto parts.
Another employee present at the time of the incident, stood outside the cage and was unharmed.
The tragic incident is rare within the manufacturing industry and a Volkswagen spokesman told the Financial Times "that the robot was not one of the new generation of lightweight collaborative robots that work side-by-side with workers on the production line and forgo safety cages."
German news agency dpa report that prosecutors are considering whether to bring charges, and if so, against whom.