In a recent flare-up between Elon Musk and the media, the Tesla CEO has vocally criticized the coverage of a past accident involving industrial robots at the company's Austin factory. Musk expressed his disapproval over the media's portrayal of the incident, specifically pointing out their erroneous connection to Tesla's humanoid Optimus robots.
On a social media platform, Musk responded to a user who shared a Daily Mail article detailing a 2021 incident at the Tesla factory. The report, echoing a story by The Information, described a harrowing event where an engineer was unexpectedly seized and pinned by one of the factory's robots during a software update.
The engineer reportedly suffered injuries and bleeding after being clutched by the robot, escaping only when a colleague intervened with an emergency stop.
Musk Targets Media Misrepresentation
Musk's criticism primarily targeted the Daily Mail's presentation, which misleadingly featured Tesla's Optimus robots in the thumbnail, despite the actual involvement of a standard industrial Kuka robot arm.
This misrepresentation led to public confusion and unfounded assumptions about the nature and cause of the accident. The debate over this incident gains further significance considering Musk's ambitious vision for the Optimus robots.
Unveiled last year, Musk has championed them as potential catalysts for an economic revolution, envisioning a future rich in resources and devoid of poverty through their capacity for manual labor. However, safety concerns have persistently shadowed Tesla's manufacturing practices.
In 2020, California's regulatory bodies reported receiving incomplete injury records from Tesla's factories. International scrutiny followed suit, with recent reports in April from Chinese officials highlighting safety lapses at Tesla's Shanghai facility, where a worker tragically died in an equipment-related accident.
Furthermore, German unions and media have raised alarms about inadequate safety measures at Tesla's Berlin Gigafactory. As this story develops, both Tesla and Kuka have yet to issue formal responses to these latest media reports.
Requests for comments made to both companies by Business Insider outside of standard business hours remained unanswered at the time of this publication.