There’s a robot out there with the goal of hitchhiking from one side of the U.S. to the other. Called hitchBOT, the human-like robot has already made treks across Canada and Europe.
It started its tour of the U.S. on Friday, beginning in Salem, Massachusetts and with plans to eventually get to San Francisco, California.
Because the robot cannot move on its own, it relies on the kindness of strangers to pass it along.
“We want to see what people do with this kind of technology when we leave it up to them,” according to Frauke Zeller, one of the creators, in an interview with the Associated Press. “It’s an art project in the wild — it invites people to participate.”
“It has a really low-tech look to it, something we dubbed the ‘yard-sale aesthetic,’” said David Harris Smith, the second creator. “The head is actually an acrylic cake-saver.”
The robot does have a GPS embedded so that its location can be tracked. It also takes photos every 20 minutes to document the journey. Photos are posted on social media (hitchBOT has 30,000 followers on Twitter).
“We want to create something that has a bit of narrative to it, a sense of adventure,” Smith said to the publication. “We don’t really know what’s going to happen.”