Would You Pick Up a Hitchhiking Robot?

HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot, is attempting to travel across Canada.

— -- Meet hitchBOT, the robot that is scheduled to leave on a hitchhiking mission across Canada next month.

Relying on the kindness of strangers in order to travel, hitchBOT will start its journey on July 27 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the hopes of ultimately traveling to Victoria, on the Pacific coast.

Dr. David Harris Smith, from McMaster University, and Dr. Frauke Zeller, from Ryerson University, first began planning hitchBOT in 2013.

“Usually, we are concerned whether we can trust robots ... but this project takes it the other way and asks: can robots trust human beings?” Zeller explained in a June 13 news release revealing the thought process behind the experiment.

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If you do travel with hitchBOT, don’t expect a quiet, passive companion –- hitchBOT has a personality all its own.

“I may look young but I have an old soul,” says the robot on his blog, hitchbot.me. Those driving with hitchBOT should also be prepared for its musical tastes. “I enjoy listening to electronic music. I currently have Mr. Roboto on repeat but the Blue Man Group and Kraftwerk are also amazing,” the blog reads.

“Simply put, I am a free-spirited robot who wants to explore Canada and meet new friends along the way,” writes hitchBOT, “I can appreciate a good game of trivia and would never pass up any opportunities to bake desserts.”

So, what should you be looking out for on the road? HitchBOT will look “like somebody has cobbled together odds and ends to make the robot, such a pool noodles, bucket, cake saver, garden gloves, Wellies, and so forth,” Smith said.

Stay updated on hitchBOT’s journey as he hitchhikes across Canada. Follow @hitchbot on Twitter and Instagram to stay in touch.

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