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Welcome Home! Hitchhiking Robot’s Cross-Canada Journey a Success

Welcome home!

A robot that hitchhiked 3,870 miles (6,228 kilometers) this summer along the Trans-Canada Highway from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia, has completed its journey. HitchBOT set out on July 27 and arrived in Victoria last Sunday, but made its official homecoming on Thursday to a reception at the city’s Open Space Gallery. The robot’s co-creators — Frauke Zeller, an assistant professor in the School of Professional Communication at Ryerson University, and David Smith, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University — said hitchBOT received a ceremonial canoe greeting at Victoria Harbor from residents on Sunday. “HitchBOT is kind of like a space shuttle — a lot of markings, people have signed it. It has this aura, originality, authenticity, and has actually developed a kind of value,” said Smith. HitchBOT could make a comeback some day, Zeller said, and the researchers are in the process of looking for more funding.

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— Rebecca Ungarino