This Adorable Robot is Hitchhiking Across the USA!
Heading west this summer through the US heartland? You may have just landed your perfect traveling companion. Meet hitchBOT, a friendly, road-tripping robot that will be hitchhiking its way through the United States. Perhaps you heard, hitchBOT made history last summer when it thumbed rides all the way across Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, in 26 days. This summer, the hitchhiking robot looks to repeat that coast-to-coast feat, navigating from Massachusetts to California. And the journey has just begun. July 17 marked hitchBOT’s first day of travel, departing its starting point at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Over the course of days, weeks, or perhaps even months, the lovable hitchhiking robot will make its way westward, ending its journey at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. RELATED: This Tiny Robot Can Pull 2000 Times its Own Weight!
A little apprehensive about letting a strange robot into the front seat of your car? Don’t worry. The hitchBOT is essentially a bucket with pool noodle arms and Wellington boots. It carries only a GPS, camera, and of course its digital brain, which can allow hitchBOT to communicate and hold conversations with its traveling companions.
The hitchBOT project began in the minds of Dr. David Harris Smith of McMaster University and Dr. Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University, who wanted to investigate how robots and humans interact. More specifically, could robots trust humans? Considering hitchBOT successfully made its way across Canada, through Germany, and The Netherlands last year…that appears to be a “yes.”
Even if you don’t see hitchBOT waiting on the side of the road this summer, you can still be part of the project. hitchBOT’s progress can be tracked live on its website, and you can even suggest tourist stops hitchBOT should visit by using the hashtag “#hitchBOTinUSA” on social media.
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