HitchBOT Murdered in Philadelphia After Just Three Weeks in the U.S.

The Amber Alert of robotics could survive Canada and Europe, but not America.


When adorable hitchhiking robot hitchBOT came stateside for its first tour of the U.S. we asked, could this adorable little freeloader survive the interstate system? Less than three weeks later, we have our answer. No. No, it cannot.

HitchBOT, a child-sized robot totally reliant on the kindness of strangers to make its way in the world, was found mangled and decapitated in Philadelphia this weekend after surviving trips across Canada and Europe unscathed.

A Canadian journalist tweeted a photo of the Law & Order: Robot Victim’s Unit crime scene where hitchBOT’s ravaged body was discovered. Be warned now this image is GRAPHIC.

As you can see from HitchBOT’s remains, this was no simple hit and run. This wasn’t just another attempt at robbing a robot hitchhiker gone bad. The assailants ripped off the head, severed an arm, tore open circuitry. They took their time. They had fun.

HitchBot would’ve been helpless to fight back. The bot couldn’t move under its own power, needed people to charge it, and is essentially entirely reliant on whomever picked it up. In exchange for your help taking hitchBOT across the country, it gives you light conversation and trivia bits, and tells jokes. It also keeps track of its progress with pictures uploaded to popular social media accounts, so an image of the assailant could be hidden in its databanks.

But whoever these monsters were, they’re safe from retribution. HitchBOT’s creators say they won’t pursue them. “We have an interest in pressing charges or finding the people who vandalized hitchBOT,” they said in a statement. “We wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same.”

HitchBoT itself managed a farewell statement from robot heaven.

An extremely popular little bot, hitchBOT’s 88,000 Facebook fans and more than 50,000 Twitter followers turned to social media for an outpouring of grief and outrage. It’s as if whoever did this shot a beloved African lion.

America is an a*hole indeed, Michelle.