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Watch as a Kiwi delivery robot bursts into flames on a California street

Watch as a Kiwi delivery robot bursts into flames on a California street
[Photo: courtesy of Kiwi]

Kiwi, the autonomous food delivery startup that operates in Berkeley, California, had a major mishap on Friday. As one of its KiwiBot robots was cruising along a sidewalk in Berkeley, it suddenly burst into flames, the Daily Californian reports. Thankfully a quick-acting bystander used a nearby fire extinguisher to douse the flames, and the fire department later covered the smoldering robot in foam to eliminate the threat of reignition.

Kiwi operates a fleet of about 100 autonomous food-delivery robots in Berkeley. In a blog post, the company confirmed the incident and immediately pulled all of its other robots until they could investigate the cause. The company concluded that the cause was down to human error–a Kiwi employee had replaced the robot’s battery with a defective one. That defective battery then experienced “thermal runaway”–basically the same problem Samsung had with its batteries in the exploding Galaxy Note 7 phones. 

Kiwi says that to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again, it has now installed “custom software that will rigorously monitor the state of each battery” in all of its bots. You can check out the video of the KiwiBot below.

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