A small robot made from pool toys is hitchhiking its way from coast to coast across Canada, with only its charm to secure rides.
'hitchBOT' is "A trivia-loving, wellington-wearing, tweeting robot" which has been designed to explore topics in human-robot-interaction and to test technologies in artificial intelligence and speech recognition.
Developed as a sociable robot, hitchBOT’s creators are encouraging drivers to pick up the friendly stranger, if they see it on the roadside this summer.
hitchBOT can interact with those who decide to give him a lift. It can talk about trivia and about itself and can answer questions about its journey so far. It has access to Wikipedia so is able to have conversations on more topics.
It is not clear how long it will take the solar-powered robot to make the 4,500 km (2,800 mile) journey from Nova Scotia on the east coast to British Columbia on the west coast. But it is already making good progress having travelled almost halfway since setting off last month.
hitchBOT is a project led by a communication, multimedia, and mechatronics across three Canadian universities. It is hoped the machine will make it across without running into any danger, however if not it will still form part of the experiment.