Humans have long been wary of robots, and have used this distrust as an inspiration for many sci-fi movies. But maybe it's robots that need to watch their back around humans—or at least around Philadelphians.
The creators of hitchBot, Dr. David Smith and Dr. Frauke Zeller, wanted to see if a small robot could safely travel the world. The blue armed adventurer could talk, tweet, and, of course, hitchhike: Unable to move on its own, the bot relied on kind strangers to carry it around and eventually pass it off to new companions. It made its way through parts of Europe and Canada without any problems, but the fun came to a violent end in the city of brotherly love.
The American tour started July 17 in Massachusetts. The robot sent excited tweets about its adventures, and even caught a Red Sox game. The little machine also went to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York. Things were looking good for hitchBot—it had big plans to visit Vegas and listen to jazz in New Orleans.
Unfortunately, the traveler only made it two weeks into its trip when it was vandalized in Philadelphia and left for dead: hitchBot never even got to try a cheesesteak from Pat's before having its head and arms viciously ripped off. Creators were provided an image of their bot's torso, but due to a dead battery, they could not recover the body.
"Sometimes bad things happen to good robots," hitchBot remarked on Twitter, remaining positive even though its journey had come to an end.