A hitchhiking robot managed to survive several major trips, but researchers had to pull the plug after it was vandalized in Philadelphia. Just two weeks into its expected cross-country trip across America, after starting on July 17 in Massachusetts, the robot was damaged beyond repair. Researchers don't know who is responsible for damaging the robot, or why it happened.
For drivers courteous enough to pick up the robot, it was designed to provide informative factoids and enjoy "limited" conversations. hitchBOT has a GPS tracker installed and a built-in camera able to take photos every 20 minutes, so researchers can follow its progress.
"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 vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots."
Researchers also understood that "fans will be disappointed," but vowed the experiment is not over. Instead, they will learn from the incident and "explore future adventures for robots and humans."
The robot successfully traveled across Canada and Germany, but it couldn't survive in Philadelphia.