Going His Way? Robot is Hitchhiking Across the U.S. And Needs a...

Going His Way? Robot is Hitchhiking Across the U.S. And Needs a Lift

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hitchbot on highway

We’ve all been warned not to pick up hitchhiking strangers — and few of them are stranger than this dude.

But trust us, it’s perfectly safe to pick up hitchBOT, the hitchhiking robot from Canada–but you will have to actually pick it up.


Last year, this little guy hitchhiked 3,800 miles across Canada in 26 days relying on the kindness of strangers and his powers of speech recognition – which lets him actually carry on brief conversations. Its Cleverscript speech technology allows it to answer questions about where it comes from or its favorite pastimes.

This summer, he’s hitchhiking across America yellow thumb pointed up to help him move from Massachusetts to California.

hitchBOT car storify

HitchBOT is the brainchild of Ontario professors Frauke Zeller, from Ryerson University in Toronto, and David Harris Smith, from McMaster University in Hamilton.

The duo, curious to see the way people would interact with robots, simply placed hitchBOT beside the road and bid farewell. It hit the road in Massachusetts on July 16.

hitchBOT with hitchBOT creators David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller

HitchBOT carries a bucket list of activities he’d like to accomplish, including doing the wave at a sports arena, visiting Millennium Park in Chicago, and hearing Jazz music in New Orleans. Strangers that meet him along the way are invited to share their hitchhiking stories and pictures using #hitchbot on Twitter and Instagram.


Besides being friendly with humans hitchBOT is also great with pets, and has gotten to interact with lots of dogs along the way.

hitchbot dog kid Facebook

Beyond the chips and processors, the robot sports swim noodles for arms and legs, bright yellow boots, and a big LED smile. You can keep up with hitchBOT’s adventures at his Storify page featuring daily updates.


There’s also an interactive map so you can track his travels – or to swing by and give him a ride.

Editor’s note: We’ve been referring to hitchBOT as a guy, but his voice sounds an awful lot like Siri—take a listen for yourself by WATCHING the video below.

(READ more at Discovery News) – Photos: hitchBOT Storify page

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