HitchBOT robot dismembered in Philadelphia

  • 03/08/2015
HitchBOT robot dismembered in Philadelphia

The robot now famous for hitchhiking across Canada, Germany and the Netherlands was just starting his adventure in the eastern United States – but then he came to Philadelphia, where his trip abruptly ended.

HitchBOT was vandalised overnight, reminding us that sometimes bad things happen to good robots.

HitchBOT is survived by his "parents" – Canadian creators Dr Frauke Zeller and Dr David Harris Smith.

"I'm surprised by how upset I actually am," says Dr Zeller. "I didn't expect it. I think that image that's circulated now on social media is quite upsetting."

HitchBOT was designed as a social experiment, to appear childlike and defenceless, going from one interaction to another dependent on the care of humans and the kindness of strangers – to get across the country. It was supposed to test human spirit.

At some point late Friday night, along the oldest street in Philadelphia, we failed that test.

An image of the dismembered robot, slain in Philly, has now gone viral.

Video from a popular YouTube personality captures hitchBOT's final hours. The creators say this is not an indictment on the City of Brotherly Love.

"I'm sure it could have happened anywhere," says Dr Zeller. "We don't really think it has anything to do with Philadelphia."

They say don't grieve; Hitch's demise is all part of the experiment, creating its own social data.

Watch the video for the full CBS report.