The worldwide journey of a hitchhiking robot that won fans and stole hearts everywhere has come to an untimely and tragic end. “HitchBOT,” as the robot was known, met his maker in Philadelphia sometime after 3 a.m. Saturday morning.
Originally brought to life in Port Credit, Ontario, HitchBOT’s hitchhiking journey began on July 27, 2014, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and through the power of social media — and of course, hitchhiking — the robot made it to the other side of Canada in just 26 days. It was a trek that took him 10,000 miles, through 17 different cities, and six provinces. While in Canada, HitchBOT’s website says, he danced in Saskatchewan, met people from Canada’s First Nations, and even attended a wedding.
In February, 2015, the hitchhiking robot made it to Germany, where he started in Munich, and travelled with “Galileo, the flagship primetime edutainment show of Prosieben – a German broadcast channel,” the website says.
“My journey began in Munich on February 13, 2015. In just 10 days, I travelled through cities like Cologne, Berlin, and Hamburg. Along the way, I visited places such as the Neuschwanstein Castle, Brandenburg Gate, and Cologne Cathedral.”
In Germany, HitchBOT attended another wedding where, the robot says, he received a “special kiss” from the bride. He then grabbed a ride with an Air Canada flight to Amsterdam, and spent three weeks vacationing in the Netherlands. After a brief stop home to Ontario, the hitchhiking robot made his way to Boston, Massachusetts, to start the U.S. leg of his hitchhiking journey.
With a strip of tape wrapped around his head reading “San Francisco or bust,” the robot left his first U.S. stop in Boston — where he took in a Red Sox game — and tried to make his way west. Unfortunately, he would only get as far as Philadelphia, where he was dropped off near an alley at 3 a.m., by the last two guys to pick the hitchhiking robot up. They then tweeted his whereabouts in the hope that someone would pick the robot up.
On Saturday morning, HitchBOT’s creators were sent a picture of the hitchhiking robot’s destroyed body, but said they couldn’t track his whereabouts at the time, because the robot’s battery was dead.
In a statement on Hitchbot’s website, the creators of the hitchhiking robot — David Smith and Frauke Zeller — expressed their sadness at the robot’s demise, but promised that “this great experiment is not over.”
“Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade. Thank you to all my friends.”
While HitchBOT’s end is tragic, it is important to remember that through all of the “this is why American’s can’t have nice things” jokes exploding on the internet in the wake of the hitchhiking robot’s destruction, it was just one or two people who caused his trek to come to and end. Many, many more people — Americans included — helped the robot along his way, and are just as saddened by the end of his journey as the rest of the world is.
[Image Credit: Facebook / HitchBOT]