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HitchBOT The Hitchhiking Robot ‘Killed’ In Philadelphia

According to the Associated Press and other sources, hitchBOT, the world-famous hitchhiking robot, met its end in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania early yesterday morning. The Canadian team of scientists who built hitchBOT reportedly as “a social experiment” reported that an unknown person or persons in Philadelphia vandalized the robot to the point where it could not be repaired.

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HitchBOT/Image: Storify

After less than two weeks, hitchBOT’s first and final U.S. cross-country tour is now finished. Frauke Zeller, one of the child-sized robot’s co-creators stated: “Sadly, sadly it’s come to an end.”

HitchBOT had previously hitchhiked across Canada in 26 days in 2014 as well as portions of Europe. The robot was immobile. It would be picked up by passing travelers and left where other motorists would notice it.

The American tour began on July 17 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It had its thumb up and a tape around its cylindrical head reading: “San Francisco or bust.” It was given rides around the Boston area and was even briefly on a boat. It did not make it beyond the East Coast.

HitchBOT’s creators received one final image of the seemingly vandalized machine yesterday. Despite its GPS, they could not track its exact location due a dead battery. They have no knowledge of who trashed the robot or the motive behind the attack.

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HitchBOT and his creators/ IMage: RoboN

HitchBOT was built to serve as a vocal travel companion. It was capable of reporting on various facts and engaging in minimal conversation.

Its camera was programmed to take photographs approximately every 20 minutes as a way of further recording some details of its adventures. Some of the travel highlights include: having its portrait painted in the Netherlands, “seeing” a Red Sox baseball game, going to a wedding and attending a comic book convention. HitchBOT even spent an entire week on the road with an unnamed heavy metal band.

Zeller stated she is worried about all the children who loved the robot. The hitchBOT team noted they would not publish the final photo of the vandalized robot in order to protect the young children who would be upset at the hi tech traveler’s demise. Zeller concluded: “I hope that people won’t be too disappointed, too sad.”

Hitchhiking Robot ‘Killed’ In Philadelphia

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.