Known by their proud creator as "tireless mechanical partners," the automatons have proven to be the foundation of economic and social development in the 22nd century. An all-purpose robotic product fleet invented by Isaac Sumdac, automatons perform a wide variety of jobs without fear, complaint, or (usually) error.
The fact that they were all reverse-engineered from a giant robot bent on killing everything around it is unknown, but what kind of problems could that cause? It's not like it's still online, right?
Dr. Sumdac used technology from the crashed remains of Megatron as the basis for his robotics empire. By the early 22nd century, Detroit had become the world's automaton manufacturing capital, a clean and high-tech city. Robots performed many everyday jobs, including:
- Garbage disposal
- Dog walking
- Janitorial services
- Food preparation and sales
- Building upkeep
- Law enforcement
- Media camera work
- Heavy industry, including robot manufacture
- Biomedical research
That last group, Sumdac's "microbots", was designed to enter infected organic systems and destroy the causes of disease, potentially one day allowing humans to achieve immortality. However, the Sumdac Systems technicians lost control of the microbot replication process, and the robots mutated their insect host into a giant, all-consuming monster that the Autobots had to defeat
Despite their usefulness, automatons are also resented by many humans who view the machines as having out-competed them for certain jobs. Prometheus Black staged robot-wrecking wrestling matches as a promotion for his own biochemical augmentation merchandise, to the cheers of large and eager crowds.
Soundwave used his sonic control signals to reorganize Detroit's automatons into a revolutionary army. He directed some of them to merge with and augment his own body, and others to go on a rampage against humans and Autobots.
Pocketbots are small, insect-like automatons. Their exact function is a mystery, though it is notable they are each equipped with a tiny cutting laser. The pocketbots are a bit of a failure, as Sumdac could never get them to work.
When Megatron revived, he was able to transfer some of his energy to a pocketbot, taking control of it and using it as a spy. He slipped it into Sari's backpack upon learning she was heading to the Autobot base. Megatron used it to search for the AllSpark, but when the search ended with failure, he used it to transfer some energy to the factory's control station, allowing him to take control of the machinery in the Autobot base. After Bumblebee destroyed the console, Optimus Prime found the pocketbot. It escaped, only to be crushed by Bulkhead.