HitchBot decapitated in Philly

By Ramon Mejia

The hitchBOT experiment is the dream of a couple of Canadian researchers, David Smith from McMaster University and Frauke Zeller from Ryerson University, who wanted to see how far a robot could travel if it only depended on human kindness to hitchhike.  HitchBOT ended up traveling over 10,000 km in Canada, from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia, and then hitching through cities like Cologne, Berlin, and Hamburg in Germany. HitchBOT’s journey is fully documented online and the bot even tweeted it all. (http://m.hitchbot.me/) (@hitchBOT)

A few weeks ago the research team planned to send hitchBOT across the entire United States of America, ticking off a jam-packed bucket list along the way that included visiting a number of historic sites such as Times Square in New York City, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Unfortunately, the U.S. was not as kind to the talking robot as the rest of the world. Only two weeks into the trip hitchBOT was vandalized and decapitated. This took place in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

HitchBOT tweeted about it:

The researchers made a statement after hitchBOT was vanalized:

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."