NEW YORK (CNN) – Your parents told you never to pick up hitchhikers, but this is an exception. A robot is trying to hitchhike across Canada by himself (herself or itself?). It’s called “Hitchbot” and its creators started its journey by leaving him on the side of the road.
Hitchhikers often look a little shady. But have you ever seen one this shade? You must literally pick up this Canadian hitchhiker named “Hitchbot.” it can talk but not walk. Up until now, reporters have been taking it for rides. Now the robot consisting of rubber boots, a bucket body and a cake container head is on the road for real.
A robot hitchhiking solo almost 4000 miles from Halifax to Victoria dependent on the kindness of strangers. Hitchbot is the brainchild of two Canadian professors, Dr. David Smith and Dr. Frauke Zeller.
“It’s an art project to really see how people respond to robots,” said Dr. Zeller.
No wonder we don’t trust robots, but this is about whether robots can trust us.
“The robot is totally dependent on people,” said Dr. Zeller.
Deposited on Highway 102 outside Halifax, a couple going camping had the honor of being first to pick up Hitchbot. You can follow its whereabouts on its website. Hitchbot is sending tweets. It snaps photos every half hour or so but don’t expect great photography, note the missing heads.
If it runs out of power and stops talking, motorists are advised to plug it into the car cigarette lighter or any power outlet.
3 young men used social media to track Hitchbot, found it and picked it up. They told global news the robot asked if they believed in god, which they said was weird. It said it wanted a pet, they got it a stuffed dog. Took it for a ride in a shopping cart thru Walmart, and gave it a meal, screws and motor oil, before leaving it at an information center. Hitchbot can talk your ear off.
It’s a good thing Canadians are so nice. If Hitchbot were hitching down here in the states, that thing might end up as the first robot road kill.
Careful, on some phones autocorrect turns “Hitchbot” into “Hitchcock”. Its creators considered calling it Alfred Hitchbot.