Philadelphia has officially lost its right to its kind-hearted nickname. After a mere two weeks on the road, the hitchhiking robot who made headlines after successfully trekking across Canada has met his sad demise in the largest city in Pennsylvania. Apparently, the City of Brotherly Love is only loving to those of the human race — but robots not so much. hitchBot’s ambitious quest of making it across the country was abruptly cut short after the poor robot was beheaded and dismembered. As it turns out, Canadians really are friendlier than Americans — at least when it comes to cute, child-sized machines just trying to get a ride to the next town.
— Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) August 2, 2015
In an endearing post on the hitchBot website, the developers of the humanoid muse, “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. Thank you to all my friends.”
Though the little bot did manage to make it across Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City, the vandals of Pennsylvania prevented him from going any farther. The great minds behind the Canadian robot insisted that they were not interested in pressing charges against those responsible for the damage, and instead want to “focus on the question ‘what can be learned from this?’ and explore future adventures for robots and humans.”
Considering that hitchBot successfully made it across Canada in just 26 days, and also safely traversed portions of Europe, it’s a real shame that it’s time in the United States was so interrupted. Despite having “San Francisco of Bust” written across its forehead, the little machine didn’t quite realize its dreams, and its battery has yet to be located by the development team.
hitchBot, which took a photo every 20 minutes, relied entirely on the help of the curious and the kindness of strangers to move it from place to place, as it was incapable of moving independently. And for two years, this worked — all until that fateful evening in Philadelphia.
Still, hitchBot creators say, “We wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same.” So keep dreaming big, little robots. And one day you’ll go from sea to shining sea.