Motorists in the central Russian city of Perm were left confused this week when traffic was temporarily halted by a robot called Promobot, which had escaped from a nearby research lab.

“Everything stopped,” Oleg Kivokurtsev, Promobot’s co-founder, tells Digital Trends. “It’s not every day that people meet a robot, I guess. There was a small traffic jam and one person called the police.”

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“We were testing the robot when one of our engineers opened the door to come into our office and then forgot to close it again,” Kivokurtsev continues. “With the door open, the robot escaped and made its way to the road.”

When it’s not escaping from its human overlords, Kivokurtsev says that Promobot — short for “Promotional Robot” — is intended to work in customer relations. Approximately 200 similar robots are already in use in countries including Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Ireland, and the Czech Republic. They are employed in expo centers, theaters and business centers. “The idea is that you can ask them a question, such as ‘Where is the food court?’ and they will be able to not only tell you, but actually go there with you.”

 

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