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HitchBOT is No More. Hitchhiking Robot Beheaded in Philadelphia.

Posted by Nadeesha Thewarapperuma

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Aug 12, 2015 2:10:00 PM


--HitchBOT in Germany, waiting to catch a plane back to Canada.--

     Canadian researchers at McMaster University designed HitchBOT as part of a social experiment. The aim was to determine if drivers were kind enought to offer a ride to the friendly, hitchhiking robot. The robot was polite, always smiling, and proved to be an interesting conversationalist. Equipped with voice recognition technology, he was capable of having a simple conversation, sprouting interesting facts, or if he couldn't understand what was being said, babbling nonsense to pass the time.

     HitchBOT was equipped with a tablet based on an Arduino platform. HitchBOT also had a GPS-tracking unit, allowing fans to follow his journey as he travelled across countries. Every 30 minutes, HitchBOT would upload a photo with a personalized tweet to his Twitter account.

     Before arriving in the US, HitchBOT travelled to several other countries, including Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. In Canada, HitchBOT hitched 19 rides, travelled 6,000 miles, and spent 21 days exploring Canada. He attended a wedding, danced in Saskatchewan, and travelled to his final destination in British Columbia. In Germany, he attended another wedding (and received a kiss from the bride), travelled on the back of a bicycle, and participated in the carnival Rose Monday Parade in Cologne. In Netherlands, HitchBOT immersed himself in local culture, visiting art museums and attractions.


    HitchBOT had a bucket list of 10 things he wanted to do in the US. He managed to cross several items off his list - he attended a Red Sox game (donned their jersey) and snagged a photo at Times Square.

    He met his demise in Philadelphia, PA. On August 1st, HitchBOT was found near a garbage dump, decapitated with his arms torn off.

    The creators of HitchBOT, David Harris Smith and Frauke Zelle, were not interested in pursuing charges. In a statement, the creators said that the purpose of their social experiment had succeeded. Following the initial success and positive reaction from fans, Smith and Zelle are interested in creating other robots to follow in HitchBOT's footsteps.

    Even with his head missing, HitchBOT had some positive things to say about his four country journey:


Sources Used:


Element14 Blog

Photos obtained from HitchBOT's twitter account and web site.


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Topics: HitchBOT

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