The hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot developed to study the interaction between robots and humans, has been decapitated by vandals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Developed by Dr. David Smith from McMaster University and Dr. Frauke Zeller at Ryerson University, the robot successfully traveled through Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and several cities in the U.S. before its untimely demise.
The hitchBOT was designed to see if “robots could trust humans.” It was capable of speaking with humans and interacting with social networks, but it was entirely dependent on humans to move it from place to place. The robot was quoted as saying, “I think my trip will lead to conversations about how robots and humans can live in harmony, and I hope that humans and robots can learn to trust each other as a result of my journey.”
Sadly, it appears the hitchBOT should not have trusted the humans in Philadelphia.