Once Decapitated Hitchhiking Robot Will Be Forever Housed in a Canadian Museum

This summer saw one of the cruelest acts of violence against robots take place on American soil. HitchBOT, a child-sized robot developed by a Toronto university was found all vandalized on the streets of Philadelphia.
hitchBOT in its element 1 photo
Photo: hitchBOT
The poor guy was trying to make its way across the country, from Salem, Massachusetts to San Francisco, California, but its journey ended abruptly in Philly where somebody seemed to practice robotic amputation on the little fellow.

Similar attempts were carried out in other countries as well, and with much more success too. For example, the original hitchBOT (you didn’t really think Canadians would risk sending the real deal over their southern border now, did you?) completed a cross-country road trip spanning thousands of miles across its homeland. European countries such as Germany and Holland were also cleared with ease and no particular incidents.

Initially created as a social experiment in 2014, hitchBOT looked like it was designed by a child from used household items. Its body was made out of a beer keg with pool noodles as arms and a cake saver on its head, to protect it from the elements. It came with a simple AI based on crowd-sourced language software, which meant nobody knew exactly what it was going to say next.

The robot relied entirely on its interaction with humans to reach its destination point, and was in no hurry, as its journey did not come with a specific time frame. After completing its journeys, the robot’s body is covered in stickers and markings, but its red face is still smiling.

As a recognition of its pioneering achievements, CBC reports that hitchBOT has been offered a permanent exhibit spot at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

However, it seems like hitchBOT is destined to live its life outdoors, as a hole in the roof of the museum has opened the gates to an airborne mold problem, so it has been decided to close it down until late 2017. That’s bad news for hitchBOT, who now has to wait nearly two years until settling in its final resting place.

But a hitchhiker’s place is out on the road, so that’s where hitchBOT will be waiting for whoever’s responsible for dealing with the mold problem. Whether there’s more mutilation in store for the lonely traveler remains to be seen. We’re guessing it all depends on where it’ll be heading this time.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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