The Sad Story of the Hitch Hiking Robot

Researchers Wanted to See if a Robot Could Hitchhike Across America, But People in Philly Decapitated It

In case you thought Philadelphia was softening up . . . nope.

Two weeks ago, researchers from Ryerson University in Toronto started an experiment to see if a ROBOT could hitchhike across America.  They called it ‘hitchBOT,’ and put it by the side of the road in Boston with a sign saying “San Francisco or Bust!”

Obviously they hoped different people would take interest, and gradually drive it all the way to California.  It came with a bucket list of places to visit, like Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon , and could answer simple questions.

And they had good reason to be optimistic, it’s already made trips across Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Things started out pretty well too.  The robot made it to Fenway, visited three cities in Massachusetts, hung out on a fishing boat, and got all the way to Times Square.

Unfortunately it wound up in Philadelphia this weekend, where people destroyed it, stole the electronics inside, and took its head.  The researchers said they’re regrouping and that, quote, “bad things happen to good robots.”

A blogger recorded the last time the robot was seen, at 7:30 here:

WARNING: There’s profanity in the video.

Here’s how hitchBOT ended up… so much for the city of brotherly love…






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