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Hitchhiking Robot Embarking on Coast-to-Coast Tour Across ­.s.


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HitchBOT trying to get a ride to San Francisco.

Having already hitchhiked across Canada and Europe, HitchBOT is trying to travel across the U.S. on its own.

Credit: Associated Press

HitchBOT set out on its first cross-country tour of the U.S. on Friday. Created by two researchers in Canada, the humanoid robot already has hitchhiked across that country, as well as Europe.

The kid-sized robot will rely on the kindness and curiosity of strangers to travel from Salem, MA, to quintessential U.S. sites such as Times Square, Mount Rushmore, and the Grand Canyon, with the goal of reaching San Francisco.

Built for play rather than performance, the robot was intentionally given whimsical attire--yellow gardening gloves and matching rubber boots--to make it approachable, but also to deter thieves. The researchers have dubbed the talking traveling companion's low-tech look the "yard-sale aesthetic."

"We want to be very careful to avoid surveillance technologies with this; that's not what we're trying to do here," says David Harris Smith, a professor at McMaster University in Ontario.

The robot's global positioning system tracks its location and a camera randomly snaps photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels for social media. The robot has more than 30,000 followers on Twitter.

From ABC News
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