Hitchhiking robot’s cross-country trip ends in Philly

Someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair

A car drives by HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot in Marblehead, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
A car drives by HitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot in Marblehead, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A hitchhiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide met its demise in the U.S.

Co-creator Frauke Zeller introduces hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot, to an American audience. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Co-creator Frauke Zeller introduces hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot, to an American audience. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment say someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair on Saturday, ending its brief American tour.

The robot was trying to travel cross-country after successfully hitchhiking across Canada last year and parts of Europe.

It set out from Marblehead, Massachusetts, two weeks ago in July with the goal of reaching San Francisco, but never made it off the East Coast.

The creators were sent an image of the vandalized robot but cannot track its location because the battery is dead.

They say they don’t know who destroyed it or why. But co-creator Frauke Zeller says many children who adored the robot are now heartbroken.

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