Hitchbot is ready to hitchhike

    This summer, a chatty robot from Ontario will attempt to hitchhike from Nova Scotia (a province in Canada) to British Columbia. Hitchbot will be about the

    size of a six-year-old with a child seat already integrated at the back, says David Harris Smith, associate professor at Canadian State University McMaster, who was the first to introduce the idea of ​​creating a joint art project for a hitchhiking robot. For the first time, a small robot will try to ride a hare from the College of Art and Design in Nova Scotia on July 27, using only the only part of its body that can move - the arm. Researchers hope he is charming enough to go all the way to Victoria.

    On the way, he will talk about his adventures with the help of social media - something should be known to those who will pick him up, Smith told CBC News: “He will be like an uncontrolled teenager in your car, he will take pictures of you and post photos on Facebook ".

    Hitchbot is also equipped with GPS and 3G wireless, allowing it to immediately post updates of its location on the Internet.

    Drivers who don’t want to be part of Hitchbot’s public history should not take it with them, said Frock Zeller, associate professor at the Ryerson University School of Professional Communication and another lead researcher on the project.

    You can take hitchbot home

    On the other hand, Smith said: “If people want to take him home to introduce his family, or to a party, or somewhere else, then they can do it - if Hitchbot agrees. This is part of the adventure on his way. ”

    Although its creators are researchers, Hitchbot is not part of a research project that typically takes place in a controlled environment. Rather, it is a joint, conceptual art project: “We are releasing it in the real world,” Zeller said.

    The goal of the project is to make people think and discuss the technologies surrounding them and our perception of public safety.

    “You know, there have already been many discussions around robots: will they take over the work, can we trust them? - says Smith. “And this work of art is very cleverly overturning this whole discussion - can robots trust people?”

    On the one hand, since Hitchbot cannot move, he will not have much choice in trusting people or not, Zeller admitted. But his virtual self-government can share his experience. “In principle, the whole world is already watching what is happening through social media,” she said.

    Hitchbot’s sophisticated communication features, on the other hand, are designed to help him gain the trust of people, Zeller added. The ability to recognize and process the voice will allow him to conduct small conversations. He can even rely on facts from Wikipedia on the topics of conversation. He will have an LED screen so he can write text messages to people and use some facial expressions. And also he will be able to correspond with several people simultaneously on the Internet.

    Hitchbot will be equipped with solar panels, which are mounted on the lid of the portable refrigerator from which its body is made, and it can also be charged from a cigarette lighter or a conventional outlet. But, if Hitchbot’s battery runs out while he is waiting for his next trip, the instructions along with a link to the official website on his case will tell people how to fix it in the car and connect it to power.

    The rest of his design will be rather low-tech, and the only movement he can make will be his outstretched arm for the hitchhiking.

    Photos posted on Hitchbot's Instagram page on Monday showed the robot’s head is made out of a cake cover, “which will protect all my parts of the brain, including LEDs, plastic bearings, motors and a mirror,” the robot says.

    He tweeted that his body is still “under development."

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