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article imageHitchBOT meets untimely end in U.S., traveled Europe and Canada

By Brian Booker     Aug 2, 2015 in Technology
HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot that had traveled across Canada and Western Europe, enjoyed an exciting life on the road. Unfortunately, that road came to a premature end near Philadelphia, the so-called city of brotherly love, when HitchBOT was vandalized.
The HitchBOT project was designed to test human kindness. The premise was simple — create a robot and set it free into the world to hitch hike cross country. The robot itself was immobile, relying solely on the kindness of strangers to move from place to place.
Only the size of a small child, HitchBOT was equipped with a GPS tracking device and would send photos back to its creators every 20 minutes. The robot was created by David Harris Smith of McMaster University and Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University.
HitchBOT enjoyed a lively if short life. The robot attended a Boston Red Socks game, spent a week with a heavy metal band, and attended at least one wedding, as well as various other parties and events.
In 2014 it took HitchBOT less than a month to cross Canada, traveling from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, British Columbia. In February of 2015 HitchBOT toured through Europe, taking in sights, having a portrait panted in the Netherlands, and otherwise enjoying its time on the road.
Then creators decided to give HitchBOT the ultimate test, tasking it to travel from Boston, Massachusetts, to San Francisco, California. The cross America trip was arguably the tallest task given to the robot, and a stiff test of America's kindness.
Unfortunately, it appears that Americans might not be as kind as their neighbors to the north and counterparts across the pond. The HitchBOT arrived in the United States on July 17, but wouldn't even last out the month before being destroyed in Philadelphia.
On Friday, July 31, the HitchBOT team received photos of their destroyed robot. Initially, they were unable to locate it because the robot's GPS tracking device had been destroyed.
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