This summer, a robot has been hitchhiking across Canada in hopes of making new friends, engaging in interesting conversations, and seeing new places. hitchBOT began its journey in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is scheduled to reach the ending point of Victoria, British Columbia very soon.
“As you may have guessed robots cannot get driver’s licences yet, so I’ll be hitchhiking my entire way. I have been planning my trip with the help of my big family of researchers in Toronto. I will be making my way from the east coast to the west coast starting in July,” hitchBOT’s website reads.
The solar-powered robot was created by David Harris Smith, a researcher at McMaster university, and Frauke Zeller, an assistant professor in communications at Ryerson. Along with an extended team of researchers, this journey has been called an experiment in “human-robot interaction.” Made of a plastic bucket torso and pool noodle arms, hitchBOT is reliant upon the assistance of humans in order to travel.
“There’s this idea of adventure, exploration, optimism,” Smith told The Toronto Star. “It kind of depends upon empathy and social collaboration. That’s one of the risks we’re willing to take.”
Check out the video below that explains more about hitchBOT’s travels: