Hitchhiking Robot Lasts Just Two Weeks in US Because Humans Are Terrible

By Matt Novak on at

When hitchBOT the hitchhiking robot started his journey in Boston two weeks ago he wanted to see the USA. Unfortunately, he never made it out of the Northeast. The researchers who built hitchBOT announced today that they need to stop the experiment because hitchBOT was vandalised in Philadelphia.

From the researchers who built hitchBOT:

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 vandalised 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.

The goal of the hitchhiking trip was to see how humans would interact with hitchBOT. And apparently the answer was “not well.” HitchBOT has been around the world, including trips across the entirety of Canada and Germany without major incident. But America is clearly a hard land for our robot brothers and sisters.

Sadly, hitchBOT never made it very far, as you can see from the map of his American travels below:

Hitchhiking Robot Lasts Just Two Weeks in US Because Humans Are Terrible

No word on whether his trademark wellies were stolen, but based on the photo below, it looks like the damage was mostly to hitchBOT’s head, which appears to be missing.

So my buddy just picked up #hitchBOTinUSA In philly and his electronics are gone along with his head.pic.twitter.com/nXIDlNPkqo

August 1, 2015

It’s unclear whether the Canadian researchers who built hitchBOT have plans to repair him and put him back out on the road. According to their website, they’ll be giving interviews starting tomorrow, so hopefully we’ll learn more then. In meantime, America should sit in the corner and think about what it’s done to poor hitchBOT.

Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on with all my friends. Sometimes bad things happen to good robots!#hitchBOTinUSA

August 1, 2015

Image: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia


This article originally appeared on Paleofuture, a Gizmodo blog looking into the future that never was