- A Kiwi delivery robot burst into flames while wheeling through campus at the University of California, Berkeley.
- The blaze was extinguished by a local, while the fire department made sure there was no risk of re-ignition.
- Startup Kiwi said the fire was caused by a faulty battery and it pulled all of its robots from service to investigate.
- Students were said to be saddened by the robot’s demise and held a candlelit vigil.
A delivery robot burst into flames at the University of California, Berkeley, and students were said to be so devastated, they held a candlelit vigil to mark its demise.
The incident took place on Friday, when a Kiwi delivery robot caught fire after its battery malfunctioned, the company said in a Medium blog on Sunday.
Pictures and video posted online showed the diminutive robot engulfed in flames, before a local rushed to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher.
A reporter at The Daily Californian caught the moment the fire was contained. The Berkeley Fire Department arrived shortly after and doused the robot with foam to ensure there was no risk of re-ignition.
Here’s a video of the Kiwibot on fire:
A student posted this image after the fire was dealt with:
— Alex (@AlexLi98) December 14, 2018
Kiwi said it took the matter “very seriously.” The company, which is housed at Berkeley’s startup incubator SkyDeck, said it pulled all of its robots out of service to investigate.
“Customers that had orders in progress had their food delivered by hand, minimising the impact on the service. At no time were customers or members of the public at risk,” the firm added.
Kiwi has a fleet of more than 100 robots and cofounder and CEO Felipe Chavez Cortes told TechCrunch this year that the company has fulfilled more than 10,000 orders.
The Daily Californian said the robot was not delivering a meal when it caught fire, meaning no one missed out on their food order. Students, however, reacted with sadness to the robot’s demise.
Citing comments on the Overheard at UC Berkeley Facebook page, The Daily Californian said students described the robot as a “hero” and a “legend.” Berkley alum James Wenzel tweeted that some even held a candlelit vigil.
so a delivery robot caught fire on berkeley's campus and students set up a candlelight vigil for it pic.twitter.com/alen7vF7Ho
— James (@ratherbright) December 15, 2018
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