Well, I Guess It’s Bust

Remember hitchBOT, the adorable hitchhiking robot? Following a successful solo trip across Canada, as well as smaller guided tours of Germany and the Netherlands, hitchBOT set off on a cross-country tour of America in mid-July. The robot left from the Boston area with a bucket list of things to accomplish en route to San Francisco.

hitchBOT's Bucket List
Because hitchBOT was a bucket, you see.

Unfortunately, America, we suck. Especially you, Philadelphia. The journey has ended, at least for now, because hitchBOT was badly vandalized in Philadelphia. It seems like some cruel bastard even sent a rather gruesome photo showing the damage they’d done, with hitchBOT’s head missing and arms ripped off. Sensitive viewers, and parents with small children present, may wish to avoid that photo. Perhaps I should have warned about that before the link.

Anyhow, here you can see the progress hitchBOT managed to make before meeting an untimely demise:

hitchBOT's American Journey, Cut Short
HitchBOT Goes (Very Slightly) West

The robot’s creators, no doubt saddened, have nevertheless stoically stated that this is not the end for hitchBOT:

[T]his great experiment is not over. For now we will focus on the question “what can be learned from this?” and explore future adventures for robots and humans.

For now, allow us to remember the good times, before the city of Philadelphia did its worst:

hitchBOT and Paul, Hanging Out
Your humble author with hitchBOT, in happier times
[Photo courtesy of P. Kafasis]

As my good friend Amy Jane notes, Pope Francis had really better watch his back this September.