Who left the door open and let the robot out? Motorists in Perm, Russia, were asking that question when a robot escaped from Omi Robotics testing facility and caused cars to erratically avoid hitting it until the so-called “helpful” robot's battery died 45 minutes later.
Oleg Kivokurtsev, the co-founder of Omi, the robot’s maker, and inventor of the Promobot, placed the blame on an engineer.
Our engineer drove onto the testing ground and forgot to close the gates. So the robot escaped and went on his little adventure.
The Promobot - short for Promotional Robot – was designed for companies looking for new ways to attract customers. Promobots can interact with humans, answer questions and remember everyone it meets. What happened to this one?
The robot was learning automatic movement algorithms on the testing ground, these functions will feature in the latest version of the Promobot.
Unfortunately, the algorithm didn’t help this Promobot reach its destination or even hail an Uber cab. Once leaving the grounds , it made its way into the street, where its battery died, leaving it to block traffic until someone from Omi came out to retrieve it.
While drivers were annoyed and worse by this futuristic traffic jammer, children on the sidewalk were seen attempting to converse with it. (“Why didn’t you look both ways?” “Can you introduce me to BB-8?”)
Kivokurtsev was apologetic but did not reveal how he would punish the robot nor the engineer.
We were very nervous and feel bad that the robot has created traffic congestion. I should say that drivers were very nice, and did not swear at the machine, simply passing it by.
We already have robots inflicting pain on humans and they’re probably doing more. Was this really just an accident or did the Promobot see a way to (a) expand its knowledge (b) escape its overlords (c) test the waters on penalties for inflicting mayhem on humans or (d) something worse?
Was this really just a “little adventure”? Was is a sneaky promotion by Omi for the Promobot? Should we be worried?