Hitchhiking Robot’s Cross-Country Trip in US Ends in Philly

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Robot “hitchBOT” is seen holding a sign reading “Neuschwanstein” as he waits for a lift at the roadside in Munich, southern Germany, on February 13, 2015. HitchBOT, a charming robot assembled using household parts who was hitchhiking more than 6,000 kilometers across Canada in summer 2014 as part of a social experiment, started his tour across Germany, where he is aimed to visit among others Neuschwanstein Castle in the South, the carnival in Cologne (West), the North Sea island of Sylt, the eastern city of Goerlitz near the Polish border and the German capital Berlin. AFP PHOTO / DPA / SVEN HOPPE +++ GERMANY OUT (Photo credit should read SVEN HOPPE/AFP/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) —

A hitchhiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide met its demise in the U.S.

The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment say someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair on Saturday, ending its brief American tour.

The robot was trying to travel cross-country after successfully hitchhiking across Canada last year and parts of Europe.

It set out from Marblehead, Massachusetts, two weeks ago in July with the goal of reaching San Francisco, but never made it off the East Coast.

The creators were sent an image of the vandalized robot but cannot track its location because the battery is dead.

They say they don’t know who destroyed it or why. But co-creator Frauke Zeller says many children who adored the robot are now heartbroken.

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