AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
You have to cut Steve the robot a little slack. Steve had just started a new job at an office complex here in D.C. called Washington Harbor. Steve's a security robot. Its 5-foot-tall, white, bullet-shaped body has all sorts of sensors - thermal imaging, a video camera, radar and other stuff.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Yesterday was Steve's first day of full autonomy, so you have to allow for - well, a little learning curve.
KRISTIAN DE MEO: It's faced its first challenge in the form of a small fountain.
SIEGEL: A water fountain - he plunged right into it. Kristian De Meo runs marketing for MRP Realty, which manages Washington Harbor. And she says Steve - that's spelled STEV stands for...
DE MEO: Security technology enhancement vehicle.
CORNISH: Steve's accidental swim was in a public courtyard, so of course people took photos of a sad robot lying in a fountain and tweeted them immediately along with jokes.
SIEGEL: One said, must have been a paranoid android.
CORNISH: Another said, we were promised flying cars. Instead we got suicidal robots.
DE MEO: My favorite one is, just put in a box of dry rice, and let it sit overnight (laughter).
SIEGEL: Knightscope, the company that built Steve, says the incident is under investigation. In a statement, the company noted that no people were harmed or involved in any way. A new robot will be delivered this week.
CORNISH: And new Steve, bring a raincoat.
(SOUNDBITE OF SUFJAN STEVENS SONG, "DEAR MR. SUPERCOMPUTER")