Speed Reads

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords

Meet HitchBOT, the friendly robot hitchhiking across the U.S. this summer

The days when any old person could stick up a thumb and hitch a ride across America are long gone — but starting today, one brave robot is bucking the trend by hitting the road with nothing but a pair of boots, a digital smile, and an implicit faith in the kindness of strangers.

HitchBOT — a durable humanoid robot designed to be passed, person-to-person, on journeys across the world — has arrived in the United States, after enjoying previous trips through Canada and Europe.

The guiding principle behind HitchBOT is simple: If you see it, pick it up and take it along, serving as a faithful companion until you pass it to someone else. You can also leave it at a gas station with its thumb raised, where another stranger will (hopefully) pick up where you left off. HitchBOT can't walk on its own, but it can offer facts and limited conversation. Its creators describe HitchBOT's personality as "charming and cheeky."

Though HitchBOT, by definition, has no set path, its creators hope Americans will take it to see Times Square, Mount Rushmore, and the Grand Canyon this summer. HitchBOT began its American road trip in Massachusetts today:

If you see it, why not give it a lift?