One of the Russian Promobot robots recently escaped from its testing grounds and now faces destruction if scientists can't change this particular bot's focus on freedom.
The cute social bot has inspired a public outcry. Online commenters are now begging the robot's creators to spare it, reports the DailyMail.com.
RELATED: Run! Top 5 Fastest Robots to the Rescue
Promobot is a line of robots designed for helpful face-to-face human interactions. Their eyes can change to hearts, and a screen on their chests displays information. The mobile robots can serve as customer service agents, product promoters, tour guides, and public service administrators, according to the company.
While working on Promobot V3 earlier this month, the company was testing the robot's ability to move autonomously around obstacles at its facility in Perm, Russia, when an engineer left and forgot to close the door. Promobot IR77 quietly slipped out, left the grounds, and rolled about 150 feet into the middle of a city street before losing power, the Washington Post reported. That prompted a traffic jam, photo-snapping, and kids trying to play with the bot.
The company now says that Promobot IR77 keeps moving toward the exit, even after being reprogrammed twice. Co-founder Oleg Kivokurtsev told the Russian news site Ura that they might have to "dispose of" this particular robot. That sparked intense reactions on Promobot's YouTube channel. Commenters are begging the company not to kill it, Ura reported. The robot's fate hangs in the balance.
RELATED: Bullied and Shoved Humanoid Robot Stays Upright
Details about the third generation Promobot haven't been revealed publicly yet, but in a blog post the company says it plans to present V3 in September. So far they have sold 215 second generation Promobots at $7,000 apiece.
If this all ends up being one huge PR stunt ahead of the demo -- and I definitely haven't ruled out that possibility -- it's a pretty brilliant one. People around the world are suddenly rooting for this particular robot. It's like a Pixar movie come to life.
Watch the freedom-loving Promobot stop traffic here: