News / Canada

hitchBOT arrives on Vancouver Island after three-week trip across Canada

A plucky hitchhiking robot from Ontario has finished its cross-country tour, arriving in Victoria three weeks after it left Halifax.

On Saturday hitchBOT tweeted: “I'm on a boat. Well, a ferry to be exact. Victoria, I'm on my way.”

According to the robot’s Twitter feed, it will meet with B.C. First Nations followed by a quick trip to Seattle before a welcome ceremony at the Open Space Art Gallery on August 21 in Victoria.

hitchBOT, who was created by Ontario communications professors Dr. David Smith and Dr. Frauke Zeller, was designed as part collaborative art project and part social robotics experiment. According to its creators, hitchBOT was built with a goal of seeing if robots can trust humans.

The robot, which is about the size of a child, was made to appear non-threatening with household items like a beer bucket for a body, Wellington boots on its feet and yellow gardening gloves for hands.

It had no problem hitching rides across the country, attending weddings and First Nations naming ceremonies. Along the way, its journey became a social media hit – hitchBOT has more than 33,000 Twitter followers, many who post photos with and of the friendly robot.

The ‘bot first set its gumboot clad foot in British Columbia on August 9. Friendly drivers decided to take it along on an adventure. It even crashed a wedding in Golden where it hit the dance floor with the bride before it made its way to the coast.