Earlier this year, we reported on a Boston Dynamics robot that became fed up with the grief that it received from its coworkers and left the company. The story itself might have been a joke based on a promotional video for the latest anthropomorphic Atlas robot released by the company, but it turns out that a robot in Russia might actually be longing for its own freedom, having made a break for it not just once, but twice.
Promobot Laboratories’ Promobot IR77 is a robot designed for human interaction, built with speech recognition capabilities, sophisticated facial recognition software, and the capability to remember and recognize human faces. It is also being used to develop environmental positioning and obstacle avoidance systems, and it may be these self-navigation systems that are contributing the robot’s tendency to wander: in mid-June, an engineer accidentally left a gate open, allowing Promobot IR77 to wander outside and into a nearby street, where it lost power and interrupted traffic.
The following week, IR77 tried to make tracks once again, despite having been reprogrammed twice. This behavior is apparently also unique to this one unit, as the company reports that all of their other robots tend to be homebodies. IR77’s independent behavior may wind up backfiring on the ‘droid, however, as the company says that they may have to dismantle it if it continues its wandering ways.