Created at Ryerson University, HitchBOT is "part science experiment, part art project," according to one of its creators, Frauke Zeller

By Alex Heigl
Updated August 12, 2014 03:15 PM
Credit: Courtesy Mike LeBlanc

No, it’s not an automated version of Will Smith in Hitch.

HitchBOT is a talking robot with a yen for trivia, and it’s making its way across Canada right now via the kindness of strangers.

Having started on July 27, the little guy – who is wearing just the most adorable pair of Wellington boots – is Tweeting his way from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Victoria, British Columbia, a journey of just over 3,800 miles.

HitchBOT is equipped with voice-recognition technology, 3G, wi-fi connectivity, and GPS. It can also ask drivers to plug it into their car’s cigarette lighter for a charge.

“Usually, we are concerned whether we can trust robots … but this project takes it the other way around and asks: Can robots trust human beings?” said Ryerson University’s Frauke Zeller in a press release.

“We expect hitchBOT to be charming and trustworthy enough in its conversation to secure rides through Canada,” Zeller added, describing the robot as “part science experiment, part art project.”

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