This little robot traveled all around the world and had tons of crazy adventures. (We wrote about him in Robotica!) Then he made the mistake of trying to hitch a ride in Philadelphia.
HITCHBot was designed by a team of students at McMaster University in Ontario. Built out of a beer cooler, garbage can lid, and robot parts, the goal was to get HITCHBot across Canada intact, relying on others to safely transport the robot as it hitchhiked. It did it, in three weeks, and his progress was followed on social media via the photos and status updates HITCHBot uploaded along the way. Next stop: Europe, where the robot safely made its way through Germany and the Netherlands.
After he returned to North America, the McMaster students wanted to see if he could make it across the USA, and HITCHBot began his third adventure on July 17 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. It started out well enough, with HITCHBot enjoying a Boston Red Sox game, appearing on a news show in Rhode Island, and landing outside of Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
But then tragedy struck. On July 31—two weeks into its American Odyssey—HITCHBot was trying to catch a ride out of Philadelphia, where he was destroyed by unknown vandals. The robot’s team received a photo of his mangled body the following morning but they were unable to determine his location. The battery for his GPS unit had either gone dead or been destroyed in the attack.
Despite this setback, the McMaster students aren’t pulling the plug, and want to send him out on another journey someday. Until then, HITCHBot has been retrieved by someone a little bit kinder, and took him to a screening of the 1995 movie Mallrats in Brooklyn. Here is a press release about the future of HITCHBot.
For more interesting stories about robots, check out Uncle John’s Robotica.