Student campus mourns loss of ‘kiwibot’ in mystery food delivery fire
UC Berkeley students expressed their grief on Facebook after news broke that one of the campus’ autonomous food delivery robots had caught fire and been destroyed.
Social media posts described the KiwiBot as a “hero” and “legend” that had delivered hundreds of take-outs to students across campus.
The circumstances surrounding the bots demise, however, have raised suspicions that it wasn’t a simple malfunction.
According to Sasha Iatsenia, head of product at Kiwi, the company is still working with UCPD to investigate the cause of the fire.
Nothing like this has ever happened before, Iatsenia told local campus media, adding that the KiwiBot “was not delivering a meal when it caught fire”.
The KiwiBot is one of more than 100 robots that deliver food throughout the campus and city.
It reportedly caught fire outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union. Footage from the scene shows one person putting out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
The fire drew a small crowd of curious onlookers, and videos of a slowly blackening KiwiBot were soon thereafter uploaded to Facebook’s Overheard at UC Berkeley page.
Garnering more than 300 reactions and more than 90 comments within an hour of uploading, the video of the robot in flames made waves on the page.
Students have called for a moment of silence.