August 1, 2015 9:22 pm
Updated: August 3, 2015 10:34 am

Canadian hitchhiking robot destroyed on trip across US


WATCH ABOVE: Creators react to destruction of ‘hitchBOT’

PHILADELPHIA – A hitchhiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide met its demise in the U.S.

The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment told The Associated Press that someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair on Saturday, ending its first American tour after about two weeks.

READ MORE: On US journey, Canadian hitchhiking robot enjoys long stay in Massachusetts

The kid-size robot set out to travel cross-country after successfully hitchhiking across Canada in 26 days last year and parts of Europe. It is immobile on its own so gets from place to place by relying on the kindness of strangers.

At some point late Friday night, along the oldest street in Philadelphia, humanity failed hitchBOT. The image of the dismembered robot has now gone viral.


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It started in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on July 17 with its thumb raised skyward, a grin on its digital face and tape wrapped around its cylindrical head that read “San Francisco or bust.”

It bounced around the Boston area and was briefly taken to sea. One day, it took in a Red Sox game. But hitchBOT never made it off the East Coast.

READ MORE: Canadian hitchhiking robot embarks on coast-to-coast tour of US

The creators were sent an image of the vandalized robot Saturday but cannot track its location because the battery is dead. They said they don’t know who destroyed it or why. But co-creator Frauke Zeller said many children who adored the robot are now heartbroken.


© 2015 The Associated Press

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