Two robots were spotted during an awkward standoff after coming face-to-face with each other in a city centre street.
The Co-op delivery machines appeared “to get confused about whether to go right or left to leave room” on a road in Cambridge.
The “stalemate” was watched on by student paramedic James Harman last week who said it lasted “a few minutes”.
After posting a photo of the robot exchange on Facebook, the 20-year-old received hundreds of comments.
The ‘stalemate’ was watched on by student paramedic James Harman last week
Facebook/ James Harman
“I was initially taking the photo for my parents but then I saw the two like that and found it funny,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I thought I could post the picture in the ‘Odd things spotted in Cambridge’ Facebook group, which is where it took off.”
The robots are part of a trial scheme by owners Starship Technologies in partnership with the Co-op and with permission from Cambridgeshire County Council.
Food deliveries were given the green light in 2022, with the first being made in November that year.
One online user said: “Are they repeating variations on ‘Please, you go first’. ‘No, I insist, you were first, go ahead’?”
Another added: “Seen situation like this before. It turns into a very balletic dance.”
A third said: “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us and it ain’t me who going to leave!”
The robots, which have a high speed of 4mph can carry three bags of shopping.
The robots, which have a high speed of 4mph can carry three bags of shopping
The new technology uses 12 cameras, ultrasound, radar and GPS to travel along pavements and cross over roads.
A spokesman for the firm said: “When robots encounter each other, observers often think they are being extra polite in a very British way, inviting the other to move first.
“In reality, the procedure on a crossing is for the robot on the island to reverse or move aside to allow the robot crossing to advance. Then, once it is safe to proceed, both robots continue on their journeys.
“Starship robots are also fast learners, using artificial intelligence to safely cross 150,000 roads every day around the world – that’s roughly three crossings every second.”