The plans are for hitchBot to leave the Boston area Friday with a final destination goal of reaching San Francisco. In Europe, hitchBOT visited historical landmarks, including the Reichstag in Germany.
Starting today, you might see Hitchbot the robot standing on the side of a freeway in hopes to get a ride across the US. Along the way, it has a bucket list that includes Times Square, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon.
Because the robot can not move on its own, it relies on the kindness of strangers to pass it along.
The creators hope that drivers will charge the robot when it runs low and won’t leave hitchBOT along busy roads. Otherwise, there are no rules.
Hitchbot is from Ontario, Canada, created as a collaboration between Dr David Smith of McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, and Dr Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.
Creator Frauke Zeller calls it an “art project in the wild” that invites people to participate.
On the outside, hitchBOT looks like it’s built for play rather than performance. The cute looking robot with limbs made from pool noodles, a beer-cooler body, and legs clad in rain boots was thus strapped to their SUV and hauled along. This robot has some limitations; it can’t travel by its own, so it is going to need a helping hand to make it to its destination.
“The head is actually an acrylic cake-saver.”
hitchBOT is capable of limited conversation and is happy to share random factoids with whomever picks it up.
So far, there are no signs of anything nefarious done to hitchBOT, but there’s also no proof.
Its “low-tech” look, one of the creators said, is to deter potential thieves and make the robot approachable. These photos are being regularly posted into social medias where it has got a devoted fan base.
The robot has more than 30,000 followers on Twitter and lots of people have shared their hitchBOT selfies on the social media site.
However, researchers are asking whether robots can trust humans.
The robot has already made its way across Canada and Germany, and has even vacationed in the Netherlands.
Most people are a bit wary about picking up hitch-hikers – but imagine if the would-be passenger was a robot. Adding up the 25 days of travel in Canada, the robot has covered 6,000 miles, before gearing up for the U.S. trip.