Robot Hitchhiker Will Make Its Way Across The U.S. This Summer

Would you pick up a robot hitchhiker? hitchBOT/Vimeo

This summer, one small robot will have a big adventure.

Last year, hitchBOT, the Canadian hitchhiking robot, traveled across Canada with a lot of help from benevolent fellow travelers.

This year, it will be making its second epic journey, thumbing a lift across the United States, and it's even got a bucket list this time.

 

 

Researchers at McMaster University and Ryerson University created hitchBOT in a joint sociology experiment. David Harris Smith, professor of communications at McMaster University and one of the robot's creators, told LiveScience that hitchBOT could be used to gauge differences in "attitudes towards social robotics."

The first experiment was deemed a success, with the robot nabbing 19 rides in 26 days on its journey across Canada.

The robot is designed to look approachable for potential hitchBOT helpers. Its body looks low-tech and has been assembled from everyday objects: a cake pan lid, rubber boots, and a bucket. But don’t be fooled by its outdated appearance, hitchBOT is right in the digital age with onboard tech, including a camera, a GPS tracking device and even speech software for limited interaction with new traveling friends.

The creators of hitchBOT bade “Bon voyage!” to an upgraded and updated hitchBOT 2.0 as it left the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, last week.

 

 

If everything goes to plan, the little robot will make its way to its final destination: the Exploratorium, an interactive museum in San Francisco, California.

You can follow hitchBOT’s hitchhiking adventures on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, Vimeo and hitchBOT’s own website.

Stay safe out there, robot explorer!

Top image credit: hitchBOT / Vimeo

[H/T: Discovery News]

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