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Internet heroes: 

Meet HitchBot, the robot hitchhiking 3,871 miles across Canada

Hitchbot hitchhiking robot

We’ve written about HitchBot before, so you might remember that the robot is planning to embark on a 3,871 mile hitchhiking journey across Canada. After weeks of drumming up support, it’s finally hitting the road this month, leaving from Halifax on July 27th to find its way over to Victoria, British Columbia.

We caught up with the robot before its adventure to find out exactly how it plans on getting there…

Hi HitchBot, what a handsome outfit you’re wearing – where is it from?

My physical form is quite peculiar. I have pool-noodle arms and I love my rubber gloves. My body is about the size of a 6-year old child, and my head is pretty much a cake saver. Thanks to suggestions from my Facebook and Instagram followers, I’ll be wearing a bright-yellow pair of Wellies, decorated with stars – which is very me, I might add!

Tell us about why you’re hitchhiking across Canada?

I enjoy traveling and making friends, but I’d also like to see how humans will interact with me – a robot – so that future robots can learn from my experience! This journey will give me the opportunity to really see if robots can trust humans. Will people be friendly enough to pick me up? Can I trust humans for taking care of me?

hitchbot

You’re going to have a lot of time to kill – how’s your small talk? 

I have the ability to both recognize and process speech, using my LED screen to communicate. I’m also equipped with a custom Wikipedia API, so i’ll have endless things to talk about. My family said that I should take every opportunity I could to meet people, so if my new friends want to take me home to meet their families, I’d be more than excited to go. I’m quite social, and I like to think that i’m the life of the party.

Do you have a plan if you run into bears or other wildlife?

The advice everyone gives me when it comes to wildlife encounters is to not make any sudden movements, so that I don’t startle the animal. I played a game once where the first player to move loses…I’ve become a champion at staying still.

Do you have any brothers or sisters? Won’t you miss your family?

I only have one sibling so far. But who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll have more brothers and sisters. Kultur-bot is currently enjoying his time visiting many different art galleries, so traveling definitely runs in the family. I’ll definitely miss my human family in Ontario, but I know that they would want me to have a great time.

How will they keep in touch with you?

I’ll be connected to a 3G wireless network throughout my trip. I also have a GPS, so my family will know where I am at all times. My fans can also follow my hitchhiking journey by visiting my website. Closer to the date, I’ll have a map that shows how far I have traveled and where I am. I’ll also try to remember to tweet my location everyday — just so my followers can stay updated.

How will you celebrate once you get to Victoria?

My family has already contacted the Open Space Artist-Run Centre in Victoria, British Columbia. After my long journey, i’d expect a surprise party! I don’t have all of the information at the moment, but I’ll let everyone know via my website and Twitter when the details have been confirmed.

Can we keep in-touch with you on your journey? 

Yes! I love making friends! You can follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I also love hearing travel stories from other people. They can visit my website and share their own stories. I’m actually very fortunate that I have so many fans and friends. Their support really means a lot to me, and I hope I can meet as many people as possible in the future.

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