Pull Over for hitchBOT, a Hitchhiking Robot Embarking on a Coast-to-Coast Tour of the U.S.
The Canadian-made droid has a "yard-sale aesthetic," his creators explain, and can even carry on limited conversation
One hitchhiker making its way across the U.S. likely won’t have any trouble reaching its destination.
Meet hitchBOT, the human robot created by two researchers in Canada.
This cute-looking droid has already caught rides across Canada and in Europe, according to the Associated Press. On Friday, it hitched its first U.S. ride in Marblehead, Massachusetts, after German tourists reportedly picked it up from the roadside after noticing the “San Francisco or bust” sign wrapped around its head.
Along the way, hitchBOT plans to check out some of the country’s most famous spots, including Times Square, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon.
Unfortunately, it can’t get around on its own, so people will pass it off to others who can take it on the next leg of its trip.
“We want to see what people do with this kind of technology when we leave it up to them,” Frauke Zeller, one of the creators and an assistant professor in professional communication at Toronto’s Ryerson University, tells the AP. “It’s an art project in the wild – it invites people to participate.”
David Harris Smith, the other creator and an assistant professor in Hamilton, Ontario, says it has a really low-tech look to it, something they dubbed the “yard-sale aesthetic.” It has a bucket for a body, pool noodles for arms and wears yellow gardening gloves and matching rubber boots. It can even carry limited conversation.
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The tour of Canada took the robot 26 days, spanning more than 6,000 miles.
But the trip’s researchers don’t know how long hitchBot’s U.S. journey will take, or what will happen along the way – although there is an embedded GPS that can track its location.
So far, it’s already attended a comic convention, a wedding and had its portrait painted in the Netherlands.
Now that it has embarked on its cross-country summer odyssey, we can only imagine the adventures that await.