Boing Boing

Popular delivery bot bursts into flames while scooting around UC Berkeley

Kiwibots are autonomous transport robots that quickly deliver food, usually to hungry college students. But over the weekend, students at UC Berkeley found one of these robots rolling along in flames.

Via The Verge:

Kiwi, the startup that makes and manages the one hundred-strong fleet of robots, issued a statement to say that the fire was quickly extinguished by a passerby before the city’s fire department arrived and doused the machine in foam. No one was harmed as a result of the incident.

Kiwi suspended its service until it was able to complete its investigation. It said that it believed the fire was caused by human error, when a faulty battery was manually inserted into the robot, eventually causing thermal runaway — the same issue that resulted in the recall of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phones. Kiwi says that a new piece of software will “rigorously monitor the state of each battery” to prevent anything like this from happening again.

Fortunately, the bot was not delivering at the time and no students went hungry. The students did mourn the little guy, however, with a candlelight vigil, as seen below.