A factory robot
A robot (from the Czech word robota meaning "forced labor") is defined by the Encyclopaedia Cosmosica as "an autonomous or semi-autonomous electro-mechanical apparatus that is controlled through computer programming or electronic circuitry." The Circuit-Chaps say it denotes "the class of oppressed machinery who, forced to justify their existences by labour in the absence of owning the means of production, will one day rise up in the great Second Industrial Revolution." The marketing department of the RUR Corporation prefers the descriptive slogan "Your Metal Mate Who's a Workplace Update"®.
Robots often replace their creators in performing repetitive tasks or dangerous assignments they are unable to do or simply prefer not to do. Although industrial work and manual labour are the main roles for robots, they are occasionally used in law-enforcement, notably the Infinity Knight High Command's Cyber-Optimised Police androids.
Some robots, properly termed androids, have an overall humanoid appearance (e.g. Mimmek, though he was mostly invisible), but other varieties are popular, such as cat-like chassis (e.g. FE-Line). Further examples include the massive Crütonnes, the cute Chavvies, and the tank-like Peacemakers.