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Meet HitchBOT

Would you pick up a hitchhiking robot? Plenty of motorists across Canada have. HitchBOT is built to travel and his creators, a team from McMaster University, Ontario, have set him the task of crossing from coast to coast, relying on lifts from strangers.

HitchBOT is about the size of a six-year-old child. He has rubber gloves to hands, while his feet are encased in a pair of sturdy wellington boots. He comes fitted with his own car-seat, so better to fit into lift-givers’ vehicles.

Although he can’t climb in and out of the cars that stop for him (the drivers must lift him from the kerb-side, and put him back at the end of the ride), he can wink, smile and keep them entertained en route with his chat.

The university team built him and sent him on his travels to learn more about how people would interact with a robot.

HitchBOT had a surprising eventful time. One driver took him on a shopping spree in a local Walmart store, even buying him a toy dog because he’d said he wanted a pet. He also treated him to ‘lunch’ – a plateful of bolts and a carton of motor oil to drink – before leaving him to wait for his next lift.

HitchBOT has a built-in camera so that he can capture life on the road. You can follow him via his website or on Facebook.

hitchBOT from hitchBOT on Vimeo.

In touch with his feminine side…

Working as a police officer for any time inevitably puts you in contact with way more than your share of crazy people. And so it was for two Sherriff’s deputies in Salina, Kansas.

They attempted to stop Aaron Jansen after he sped past them in a car, which had insults aimed at the police, spray-painted along its sides. But he refused to pull over and talk to them, even after they used a tyre-shredding ‘stinger’ on his vehicle. Instead, he turned into a field, where he then drove in circles. The deputies called for help. Meanwhile, Jansen hurled CDs, a blanket and whatever else was loose inside his car before climbing out on to its roof as it was still moving, briefly ‘surfing’ there.

Finally, as they arrested 29yo Jansen, he spouted passages from the Bible at them. He was wearing a cowboy hat, boots… and a woman’s dress.

Naked flight

And here’s another; drivers approaching the south-west city of Ufa, Russia, caught an eyeful. Yulia Vorokova was travelling in a car stopped by police for a roadside check. Rather than answer their questions she made a run for it, across busy oncoming traffic. If that wasn’t risky enough, she attempted to flee naked – apart from a pair of shoes. Police pursued her and eventually arrested her, then taking her to hospital for drug and alcohol treatment.



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