Robot escapes laboratory, causes traffic jam in Russian city

By Ben Hooper  |  June 16, 2016 at 2:01 PM
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PERM, Russia, June 16 (UPI) -- A Russian robot reportedly escaped from its laboratory in the city of Perm and caused a traffic jam by rolling out into the street.

Researchers at Promobot laboratories said the prototype for a new version of the Promobot, a robot designed to interact with humans by answering questions and giving directions, was undergoing tests for its new independent movement feature when it escaped through a gate that had been left open.

"The robot was learning automatic movement algorithms on the testing ground, these functions will feature in the latest version of the Promobot," laboratory co-founder Oleg Kivokurtsev told "Our engineer drove onto the testing ground and forgot to close the gates. So the robot escaped and went on his little adventure."

The lab said Promobot only traveled about 164 feet outside of the gate, but it ended up in the middle of the road when its battery died.

Footage filmed by witnesses shows Promobot blocking traffic in the middle of the road while a traffic police officer guards it. The robot is eventually wheeled away.

Some have speculated the robot's escape was a stunt orchestrated by the company to gain publicity for Promobot, which is currently being put to commercial use by at least one business in the city.

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