Robot hitchhikes across Canada

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hitchBOT is a robot attempting to hitchhike all of Canada, from coast to coast, in order to tackle the question: can robots trust humans?

The hitch-hiking droid is the brainchild of David Harris Smith of McMaster University and Frauke Zeller from the School of Professional Communication at Ryerson University.

When asking hitchBOT about its reason for hitchhiking, the robot responds, “Not only do I have no money, but robots still can’t get their Canadian driver’s license yet. Aside from that, my guardians think it would be fun for a robot to hitchhike across Canada.”

hitchBot has built in voice-recognition, is powered by alternative energy sources such as solar power, contains WiFi and 3G capabilities, and even waves its hand in order to hitch a ride.

A collage of photos taken by hitchBOT (photo: Instagram)

Despite the fascinating project of having a robot hitchhike across Canada alone, both Smith and Zeller believe the quest is much more than that.

“Usually, we are concerned whether we can trust robots…but this project takes it the other way around and asks: can robots trust humans?” say Smith and Zeller in a joint statement on the project.

hitchBOT’s quest began in Halifax, Nova Scotia and plans to arrive in Victoria, British Columbia. The distance between the two cities is more than 6,000 km. There are currently no time constraints facing the robot’s journey.

hitchBOT in a car (photo: Ryerson)

“I hope that my hitchhiking trip will allow me to meet many interesting people, see beautiful places, and learn more about humanity…I think my trip will lead to conversations about how robots and humans can live in harmony, and I hope that humans and robots can learn to trust each other as a result of journey,” notes hitchBOT (or its creators) on the robot’s website.