HitchBOT, the first hitchhiking robot, was found dismembered on Saturday in Philadelphia, beheaded by vandals and damaged “beyond repair” according to the Canadian researchers who had created him. It had been abandoned in the streets.

HitchBOT began its trip in the U.S. in Boston, Mass. and traveled across 300 miles. It had previously crossed 3,700 miles in Canada back in 2014.

HitchBOT was designed as a social experiment: his creators wanted to see if it was possible for robots to rely on human beings.

Before his trip in the U.S. was cut short, hitchBOT made it across Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. The robot couldn’t move by itself, and was dependent on the kindness of the people who came across it.

David Smith, co-creator, told the CBC, “This was not quite the outcome that we had hoped for.”

Smith’s first objectives might be achieved someday, though. After the robot’s demise, the hitchBOT team posted a few photos on their Instagram account, including a picture of Times Square captioned with, “I thought I was bright and flashy, but turns out the lights in Times Square have me beat. Next stop… who knows!” The hitchBOT team’s website also says that “we know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over.”

The researcher team explained on their website that they have “no interest in pressing charges or finding the people who vandalized hitchBOT.”



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