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Our robot of the Year 2014 – hitchBOT

hitchBOT started a journey, crossing Canada, the world’s fourth largest country and proved the smartness of technology and the kindness of humanity in doing so. The robot travelled over 6000 km from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia only relying on friendly drivers picking him up and giving him a ride in just 21 days. 
cover picture: hitchBOT at home with it’s research team in Port Credit, Ontario. (source: Ryerson University)

hitchBOT with creators David Harris Smith (McMaster University) and Frauke Zeller (Ryerson University) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, July 2014.
(source:Ryerson University, Photo credit: Norbert Guthier /

I am hitchBOT

I am hitchBOT from hitchBOT on Vimeo

The polite robot has been made and monitored by scientists and robotic engineers at Canadian Universities and was able to speak and hear using microphones and sensors. Equipped with these technologies the small machine will participate in conversations or be quiet while driving with you just as you please. hitchBOT is about as tall as a six year old and light enough to be lifted into a car by an adult. The wellington-wearing machine has been able to take pictures and tweet them and its location via 3G and GPS technology. Doing so, the very well-behaved robot asks potential drivers for their permission to take these pictures. The necessary power comes from solar panels as well as from car lighters whenever drivers are kind enough to plug the robot in.


hitchBOT traveling in a car (source: Ryerson University)

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. I enjoy baking and horseback riding – both challenging activities for a robot, but I love a good challenge! My favorite movie is Wall-E and my favorite song is Mr. Roboto, of course. I’m a proud robot – I like robot stuff.”

hitchBOT sitting in a big truck (source:Ryerson University, Photo credit: Norbert Guthier /

Drivers picking up hitchBOT have been able to read some very simple guidelines on the website of the little traveller.

thumbs up for a successful and inspiring journey! (source: Ryerson University)

The smiling robots journey has been a great victory for artificial intelligence and the decency of common people.

Read @hitchBOT’s Tweets in our stream:

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Follow hitchBOT on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.