'Well, that sucks': Runaway robot vacuum sparks search in Kiwi community

The Coromandel town of Whangamatā might be looking a little cleaner this morning after a rogue robot took to the streets yesterday on an unsanctioned dust-busting mission.

A local woman has called on the community to help after her robot vacuum clear slipped out of her home and headed into the wild yesterday.

"I know this sounds mad," she said as she began her online appeal, "but has anyone seen a iRobot vacuum cleaner 902 end of Port road?"

She revealed she was charging the device in her cupboard when she heard it start up.

"Just gone to check it went back to charger and can't find it, I did have garage door open and am now wondering if it took off down driveway, I really can't find it in house."

The community quickly rallied, reporting sightings of the plucky robot across the coastal settlement.

Some of which may not have been entirely factual.

"Pretty sure it was bombing at the wharf, someone should really tell it that water will ruin it? Not very safe at all," one helpful tipster volunteered.

"Just passed it going up the Bombays," another claimed.

"Hope someone finds it," another local said.

"Those things are like rabbits ... town will be overrun with them by spring!"

Others saw a dark side in the robot's rampage, warning it may only be the tip of the cyber iceberg.

"Skynet is taking over! First it's the vacuums, next minit old mate Arnie will be turning up," one person commented.

The bereft owner told the Herald that Robo, who she identified as a female vacuum cleaner, had probably not gone far because the rough seal would have slowed her progress.

"Somebody might have just run her over."

She estimated Robo broke free about 3pm yesterday and said a fresh search this morning had yielded no sign of the mechanical maid.

The owner also revealed there were earlier signs of trouble in the human-robot relationship.

"She's been in storage for quite some time, then when I finally plugged her in she was waking up at 3am and waking the whole household up."

If Robo doesn't come home, the owner told the Herald she will be forced to pick up the Dyson, an eventuality best summed up by a commenter online.

"Well, that sucks."

PS - Here is a cat on a robot vacuum cleaner:

This article was first published by the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.