After hitchhiking 3.700 miles through Canada last year, our favourite robot of 2014 returned for a new adventure. This time the friendly metal traveller is headed for Germany’s autobahns. HitchBOT relies entirely on the kindness of strangers in his 10 day adventure through the country.
The small robot is outfitted with a rubber hitchhiking hand, speech recognition software, and even its own Wi-Fi network that it uses to offer regionally-specific tidbits of information that it picks up along the way. This allows it to engage in conversation, send tweets and even engage in a game of trivia. The robot, which was created by communications researchers David Harris Smith at McMaster University in Hamilton and Frauke Zeller at Ryerson University in Toronto is programmed to explain itself to drivers and can be charged over standard power outlets in the car.
For the new adventure hitchBOT, which is powered by a simple tablet and Arduino, learned some German; not particular as much as English but enough to engage in a conversation around his hobbies, including soccer, hockey, baking and riding. The kind robot with rubber arms and legs takes snapshots every 30 minutes and sends them to its headquarters and social media channels. Followers can also track hitchBOT via built in GPS and look up the current position on an interactive map.
The upcoming expedition, is a criss cross through Germany, with stops at the throne room in Neuschwanstein, the carnival in Cologne, a soccer game and a visit to the Canadian embassy and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
hitchBOT describes himself as “hardware-store chic since I wear a garbage can hat, my torso is made of a plastic beer pail, my arms are made of pool noodles, and my head and brain are protected by a plastic cake saver.” In addition the unusual tourist asks for tips: “Have you been to Germany? Do you have any other suggestions for me? Maybe I can crash another wedding like I did last summer in Canada. Let me know using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”
You can follow @hitchBOT in our Twitter Stream below: