HitchBOT destroyed in Philadelphia, ending U.S. tour

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

Researchers say Canadian-made hitchhiking robot ruined beyond repair

The anthropomorphic robot named hitchBOT, seen here during its cross-Canada trek in 2014, was destroyed on Saturday, two weeks into its attempted trip across the U.S., according to its creators. (Paul Darrow/Reuters)

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.