According to Volkswagen spokesman Heiko Hillwig, the contractor was part of a team that was setting up the robot when it grabbed and thrust him to death against a metal slab.
The spokesman explained that the robot can be programmed for various tasks in the assembly process; in particular, the machine is programed to grab auto parts and manipulate them when operating in a restricted area of the plant.
Perhaps assuaging premature fears of an impending A.I. apocalypse, Hillwig said that the company believes that the tragedy took place due to human error.
Although an investigation into the matter is already under way, prosecutors are still determining whether charges should be filed, and if so, against whom.
Some sources said that in case criminal charges are not filed, Volkswagen may face a massive lawsuit from the family of the late contractor, whose Meissen-based company had built the machine for the automaker.