A "hitchhiking, tweeting, and trivia-loving robot" named hitchBOT will soon embark on a coast-to-coast, 3871-mile trek across Canada. It was initially conceived by Dr. David Harris Smith and Dr. Frauke Zeller as a collaborative art project. Armed with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, hitchBOT will be capable of accessing Wikipedia, interacting with social media, and both recognizing and processing speech. One thing it can't do is move: hitchBOT is largely incapable of independent motion, and must rely on charm to secure rides from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia
The intrepid machine is currently under construction, but Smith expects the finished product to look like it was cobbled from "odds and ends" such as pool noodles and Wellington boots. The hitchBOT team is hoping its creation can answer a question about human kindness. "Usually, we are concerned whether we can trust robots, " says Zeller in a statement. "But this project takes it the other way around and asks: can robots trust human beings?" HitchBOT's journey begins on July 27th, and will be chronicled on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.