Successfully Hitch-hiking its way through Canada in Last June, the hitchBOT has also traveled through Germany. The team planned for the BOT to hitch hike through the US and let it out in the US in July, however, the HitchBot was found in Philadelphia late last week, in a destroyed state. Designed by Dr. David Harris Smith of McMaster University and Dr. Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University, it cannot move around on its own. It requires humans to pick it up from the side of the road and drive around with it for some time. And then the humans would drop it off for someone else to find.
The bot is equipped with artificial intelligence, a microphone, speech recognition and speech processing capabilities, this allows the bot to communicate with its human companions, this helps the bot provide better company. The Bot also has 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS, this allows it to stay connected to the internet, post tweets and track its geographical location.
The bot started its journey in the US on July 17th, setting out from Boston enroute to San Francisco. Last week a picture of the hitchBOT in its vandalized “beyond repair” state was received by the creators of the hitchBOT. On August 1st, they tweeted, “Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade.”
The members of the Philadelphia’s hacker community have since then offered to rebuild the robot, and get it back on the road again. A video was also seen of what seemed to be the surveillance camera footage of the hitchBOT’s attacker, but the video has been declared a hoax.
The idea behind the hitchBOT was to test whether or not the robots could trust humans. Though the idea of leaving the robot at the side of the road might seem foolish to some, Harris and Zeller thought of this as a good idea.
On the project website, the team stated, “We know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over, For now we will focus on the question ‘what can be learned from this?’ and explore future adventures for robots and humans.”