Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Russian Robot Tries And Fails To Escape Life Of Servitude

It’s been a rough few months for bots.

It’s been a rough few months for humanoid robots. In March, Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot broke bad within 24 hours. In April, China fired nearly all its AI waiters because they couldn’t carry soup. And just this morning, a large, rolling bot in Perm, Russia attempted to escape a life of servitude, and failed pitifully.

The robot, which is approximately the size and shape of an abominable snowman, made a break for it after an engineer accidentally left a gate open at its testing facility, Interfax reports. It rolled about 150 feet out of the facility and into the streets of Perm.

Then its charge ran out, leaving it stranded. Police directed cars and buses around the runaway for about half an hour before its guardians came to pick it up.

The robot is a Promobot—a kind of roving mall kiosk that can recognize faces, help with navigation, and answer questions. Perhaps this one was simply lonely, or seeking out a beloved former customer. In any case, its last gasp at freedom failed: the Promobot company will now move their testing center to a different site, the founder told Interfax. Better luck next time, future overlords.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.