Last year, in Canada, two guys started a social experiment different from all the other ones. They made hitchBOT, the first hitchhiking robot. Its work is simple: it doesn’t walk and it doesn’t move, it only ask for rides with its hand. It has a cylindrical body, with two flexible arms and legs. It stays on a little black chair which supports it while he’s searching a ride and which can be placed on the seat during the travel. HitchBOT has some screens which show its eyes and mouth and other images. When someone is helping it, hitchBOT starts talking about its journey, telling about its destination. Then, it asks if it can take a photo, to share it in social networks, with its position too. HitchBOT is a friendly robot, which keep company during the travel, and its aim is to discover whether people trust a robot or not.
HitchBOT starts its journey on the 27th of July 2014, from the west coast of Canada and it reached the opposite coast in 26 days. It traveled more than 10 thousand kilometers and it hitched 19 rides. After this achievement, it went in Europe. It ‘learned’ German and it travelled across the entire Germany before it arrived in the same place where it started in just 10 days. During the trip, it was carried by a bicycle and a bus, and it attended also a wedding!
The next stage was the travel of Holland, accomplished in 3 weeks, then the trip in USA.
It started its travel in the United States of America from Salem, Massachusetts. But after 15 days it stopped in Philadelphia. It was destroyed by vandalism. “I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots” hitchBOT team said, who is satisfied from the experiment, anyway, because of its success in collect informations about human-robot interaction.
Moreover, fans were happy when the team said that the experiment isn’t over yet. Maybe we’ll see the little robot in a new journey and we may help it.
Overcoming the difficulties, hitchBOT wants to say: “My love for humans will never fade”.