Hitchbot didn't come out well in the attack. According to Brigitte Dreger, Hitchbot project manager, to Autoblog, the machine was "damaged beyond repair" and was "missing its head and internal tablet." The group only found out about the vandalism when a fan emailed. The incident will also put an end to the attempt to cross the US this year, but the researchers will look at "future avenues for adventures that humans and robots can experience together."
During the abbreviated trip, Hitchbot was able to see some major attractions in the Northeast, including Boston and New York City. In an oddly touching, first-person post on the project's website, the bot wrote: "Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots!"
The experiment by Canadian researchers is meant to investigate human-robot interaction. Hitchbot was equipped with some speech recognition technology to speak with its driver on the road, and the robot was also constantly traceable via GPS and 3G. The whole journey could be followed on social media.
The researchers have no desire to press charges or even to find the perpetrators. "We wish to remember the good times, and we encourage Hitchbot's friends and fans to do the same," the post on the project's website says. Although, if the machines ever actually become sentient and try to take over, Philly might want to look out for such malicious behavior.