A Tesla self-driving car ran over a robot in Las Vegas, but some have speculated that a viral video of the incident is part of an advertising campaign.
The video, released by Promobot, shows the alleged self-driving Tesla vehicle hitting the robot on Paradise Road in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Jan, 6 2019. A self-driving Tesla Model S hit and destroyed an autonomous Promobot the robot model v4 in Las Vegas in a car accident. The incident took place at 3000 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas,” the description says.
Some users online claimed Promobot’s video is a PR stunt to boost the sales of its product.
“Killed is a massive over exaggeration. It also looks like it was planted. PR stunt if you ask me,” wrote one person on YouTube.
Others said there is a “rope” visible in the video.
“You can see the rope after the fall behind the palm trees,” one person said. “You can see the rope used to pull the robot over in the far left of the frames right after the robot falls over 😛 Good try, Promobot,” added another.
In the footage, the Tesla car doesn’t appear to actually strike the robot, but as it drives past, the bot seemingly falls over.
Noted another person: “LoL you can see the string that was pulled to tip over the robot. Hey look, Tesla hit the robot and falls not according to physics.”
“You shorts are getting way too desperate. Just go buy some calls and be on the righteous side of things.”
The firm, which has Russian top-level domain website, says its product, the Promobot, “is an autonomous robot designed for business purposes. It attracts new customers and helps existing ones.”
“To date, several hundred of our Promobot robots operate in 26 countries around the world. They perform the functions of administrators, promoters, hostesses, Museum guides, consultants, concierges, and many others in various crowded places such as banks, shopping centers, museums, housing complexes, business centers and many others,” its website adds.
The site includes a Kremlin photo of the bot shaking “hands” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the Daily Mail, the humanoid robot can be rented for $2,000-per-day. The firm said that its robots were heading to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) booth when one of them stepped out of line and was hit by the Telsa Model S, which was operating in autonomous mode.
A passenger was inside the Tesla at the time of the crash.
The Tesla continued driving for about 150 feet before it stopped, reported the Daily Mail.
The crash tipped over the robot and caused “serious damage,” Promobot said, adding that the head, arm, and other parts were damaged, rendering it unusable and cannot be displayed.
“Of course we are vexed,” said Oleg Kivokurtsev, Promobot’s Development Director, to the Mail.
“We brought this robot here from Philadelphia to participate at CES. Now it neither cannot participate in the event or be recovered,” he also stated.
The firm will now carry out “an internal investigation and find out why the robot went to the roadway,” Kivokurtsev said.
Las Vegas police showed up to investigate the matter, reported the Daily Mail. Local news outlets didn’t report on the incident.
George Caldera, a Tesla passenger, stated: “There was nobody there, no men, no cars.” He did not elaborate.
“I switched this Tesla into a self-driving mode and it started to move. And wow! A robot on the track!” he added.
Caldera added: “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.”