Hitchbot thumbs rides across Canada, makes human friends

Hitchbot, the yellow glove- and Wellies-wearing robot, has started bumming rides across Canada, and by the looks of it, its hosts are having a blast ferrying it to its next drop-off point. The machine with a perpetual LED smile began its journey in Halifax, and it'll travel 4,000 miles until it reaches Victoria, British Columbia. People who pick up Hitchbot are pointed to a website where they can find instructions on how to handle it and where to drop it off. On the way, Hitchbot chats with its host, thanks to its speech recognition capability, or chatters away on its own in case its tablet-and-Arduino brain can't parse what its companion's saying. It also takes pictures every 30 minutes or so to send back to headquarters and upload to its social media accounts.

When university researchers David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller made Hitchbot, they wanted to know if robots can trust humans. Based on the photos people have been uploading on social media, the answer seems to be yes -- for now. Hitchbot's got a lot more ground to cover, including a boat trip to reach its final destination, so follow it on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with its adventures

[Image credit: Hitchbot/Instagram]