Hitchhiking Robot That Just Wanted Human Kindness Found Decapitated

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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hitchBOT’s American journey reached a premature and gruesome end in Philidelphia

A hitchhiking robot that relied on the kindness of strangers to complete its journeys has been found decapitated in Philidelphia, USA.

hitchBOT, created by Canadian researchers, had successfully completed hitchhiking adventures in Canada, Germany and the Netherlands before setting off from Salem, Massachusetts, on July 17 with dreams of reaching San Francisco.

hitchBOT deadGrizzly end

But hitchBOT’s travels came to an abrupt and grizzly end in Philadelphia this weekend.

As yet it is unkown who vandalised hitchBOT but it is thought to be back home with its creators.

The child-size robot relied on humans carrying it to its destination. People could pass it over to others to help it complete its journeys or leave him on its kickstand at a shop or petrol station with its thumb raised.

Tributes to the much-loved robot have flooded social media sites with one Twitter user commenting: “Sadly, I had a bad feeling this would happen. Up here in Canada you were treated so well. What’s wrong with people?”

hitchBOT in parkAnother wrote: “That’s really sad that people can’t leave things alone that aren’t theirs. I was really looking forward to seeing your journey. Hopefully you will continue on sometime. Way to go to the idiot in Pennsylvania.”

“Why am I crying?” one tweeter queried.

hitchBOT’s creators said in a statement: “We have no interest in pressing charges or finding the people who vandalised hitchBOT. We wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same.”

We may not have seen the last of hitchBOT, though. Another statement on Facebook read: “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.”

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