Why did the robot cross the road?

To get to the other side of, well, Canada.  This summer there was a lot if internet chatter over whether humans could trust robots.  Perhaps the more interesting question is whether or not robots can trust humans.  Dr. Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University and Dr. David Harris Smith of McMaster University, created an experiment to see if a robot could hitchhike its way across the trans-Canada highway from from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia.  Travelling nearly 4000 miles, hitchBOT completed his trip in just under 3 weeks, intact, with only some minor wear and tear.   

Like a character straight out of Wedding Crashers, hitchBOT, thumbed his way across Canada, yes, even participating in a wedding.  While hitchBOT needs help moving from place to place ( his pool noodle arms and legs aren’t motorized to get him around), he does have a charming personality.  Relying on speech recognition software and a WIkipedia API to spout off facts about the local region.  

Even though he reached the Pacific, his travels are far from over.  He’s now touring North America at several locales from art galleries to entrepreneurship events.  You can follow him on his website, or on get updates from his Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram.  

hitchBOT from hitchBOT on Vimeo.

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