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Robot escapes testing grounds, ends up in middle of road

Technically Incorrect: In Russia, a robot is learning automated movements and reportedly veers into public view, blocking a road.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


An escape? Or a stunt?

Russia Today/Instagram screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You're driving along and suddenly someone decides to roll out into the middle of the road.

Oddly, it's not a teen with headphones on, staring down at his phone while riding a hoverboard.

It's a robot.

This is the scenario Russia Today reports as having occurred outside a robot testing site in Perm.

The robot rolled into the middle of traffic, to be faced by no-doubt bemused drivers.

Russia Today quotes Oleg Kivokurtsev, the co-founder of the robot manufacturing company, as saying: "The robot was learning automatic movement algorithms on the testing ground, these functions will feature in the latest version of the Promobot."

Promobot is a terribly helpful machine that helps in vital areas of culture -- translating promotional materials, for example.

Which is why I find myself suspicious of this tale. It feels rather, well, promotional.

Kivokurtsev told Russia Today that an engineer was to blame. Well, of course.

"Our engineer drove onto the testing ground and forgot to close the gates. So the robot escaped and went on his little adventure," he said.

Promobot didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

You'd think, though, there might have been panic. Instead, someone was conveniently on hand to film the proceedings. Moreover, the local police seemed entirely unperturbed.

Russia Today says that it took Promobot's makers 45 minutes to realize he'd gone rollabout.

Indeed, he supposedly only ground to a halt when his battery died.

I fear he may have stopped when the makers had enough good footage.