Robot Name Survey Results

Bosch's AlanWhat is it about R2-D2 that makes him so popular?  Is it the cute-ish whistles, the grace under pressure, the slavish devotion to its owner, or just the fact that we surveyed a community of dedicated R2 builders?  Whatever it is, it's clearly working.  For R2-D2 has come out on top of our recent Favorite Fictional Robot Survey.  

Here are the final results:
1.    R2-D2, from Star Wars (81.5% 'Like It' votes)
2.    Bender, from Futurama (76.4%)
3.    WALL-E (73.9%)
4.    Marvin, in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (66.3%)
5.    HAL 9000, from 2001: A Space Odyssey (65.4%)
6.    Eve, from WALL-E (62.7%)
7.    T-800 or T-1000 from The Terminator (60.8%)
8.    Data, from Star Trek: Next Generation (60.1%)
9.    C-3PO, from Star Wars (58.9%)
10.    Johnny Five, from Short Circuit (53.3%)
11.    Optimus Prime, from Transformers (52%)
12.    Sonny, from I, Robot (49.8%)
13.    KITT, from Knight Rider (40.1%)
14.    Cylons, from Battlestar Galactica (39.9%)
15.    Rosie the Maid, in The Jetsons (27.8%)

As a reminder, we released this survey into the wild a few weeks ago to determine the favorite fictional robot from the Willow Garage community.  They survey focused on fictional robots (although we do appreciate the write-in votes for the PR2!) and was winnowed down to a Top 15 following an internal Willow Garage survey that included 40 original names.

While our survey methodology wouldn't pass academic muster, some interesting items emerged when we compared to the Willow Garage internal list. 

Survey results

The discrepancy between the top two spots is marginal, considering that the Willow Garage internal survey had Bender and R2-D2 neck and neck, albeit in a much smaller sample size.  What's most surprising is the big drop-off of Rosie.   Our guess is that our larger community skews a bit younger than Willow Garage employees, some of whom actually watched The Jetsons during the Kennedy Administration and not on-demand via Boomerang.

Poor Rosie was the least-liked robot by a wide margin; outdistancing KITT by a full 10 percentage points, followed by Optimus Prime. 

We also received nearly 200 write-in votes for our readers' favorite fictional robots.   Many of them were in our internal survey and didn't get enough support to make the public survey, but there were some great examples that we just missed.  All of these received multiple votes: the robot Andrew in Bicentennial Man; the robot servant GIR from the Invader Zim TV series; GLaDOS from the  video game Portal; the robots V.I.N.CENT ("Vital Information Necessary CENTralized"), B.O.B. (BiO-sanitation Battalion), and Maximilian from the movie The Black Hole were all mentioned; R. Daneel Olivaw, who appears is Isaac Asimov's Robot/Foundation Series.

Given the findings from the original internal survey, it's not surprising that Pee Wee Herman's Conky 2000 didn't receive a single write-in ;-)

The complete survey results are available here.

Image: Bosch RTC's "Alan" PR2