HitchBOT, a social experiment that survived on the kindness of stranger and successfully traveled alone across Canada, Germany and the Netherlands, has met a tragic end. Just two weeks after hitchBOT embarked on a tour of the United States, the cheerful robot was found brutally destroyed in Philadelphia.
The robot was badly vandalized and reportedly damaged beyond repair. Photos show the child-sized robot’s head, arms and legs ripped from its torso.
The robot relied on strangers who would bring hitchBOT with them on part of their travels. When they parted ways, hitchBOT would be given to another traveler, or placed somewhere where it might be discovered by someone else.
In a statement on the hitchBOT website, hitchBOT’s team said:
“HitchBOT’s trip came to an end last night in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks hitchhiking and visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City. Unfortunately, hitchBOT was vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots. We know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over. For now we will focus on the question “what can be learned from this?” and explore future adventures for robots and humans.
We have no interest in pressing charges or finding the people who vandalized hitchBOT; we wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same.”
HitchBOT’s final message on the site reads:
“Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade.”