There is a 21st century equivalent for little old ladies with tea and sympathy, it’s a new droid from the University of (where else?) California.
They will be stationed alongside major roads and despatched the moment a roadside camera spots anything approaching an accident (your bike nestling in a hedge, for example).
While it is not known whether the droid will carry a flask of hot, sweet tea, it will have a two way video phone so you can groan for help direct to the emergency services.
Professor Mohan Trivedi, who heads up the project, thinks the system will enable emergency services to arrive up to five minutes earlier by alerting them faster. As well as getting help to the injured sooner, this will ensure roads are cleared more quickly, reducing the chance of further accidents. It will also save valuable time by enabling paramedics or police to be more prepared for what they’re going to find, thanks to information received from the robot.
" The video conferencing will also provide emotional and psychological support for people in need of help, " said Trivedi.
Trivedi said: " I think we’ll see the first ones in use within two or three years. Of course, I’d like to see all countries adopting the system. "