This little robot is hitchhiking across Canada, from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. It's an interesting sociological experiment, and though I personally find "facial expressions" to kind of awkward, I definitely get how it makes him come off as much less threatening than, say, this guy:
They make the point right around the 4:20 mark that an experiment this could only ever work in Canada, because Americans are definitely way too trigger-happy, paranoid, and generally crazy, and would probably destroy the poor little Hitchbot. Especially once he got started making small talk. Hell, I got annoyed just listening to the short clip of his Wikipedia rambling. I'm not even sure how long I'd last in the car with this Canadian C-3PO.
I do kind of wonder about what a robot experiment like this could do in studying the dangerous aspects of hitchhiking, especially if it's recording its interactions. I've never actually hitchhiked myself, but at least in America, we're told that you're expected to trade "ass, cash, or grass." Sexual assault in particular is a major threat for women. But Hitchbot, he's just a freeloader!
...or is he? Hrmmm...