Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday August 6, 2015
HitchBOT’s parts are being returned to Canada
HitchBOT’s California dreams have been dashed for 2015, but there is a possibility the robot will be back on the side of the road next year.
The Canadian-made hitchhiking robot’s creators released a statement Wednesday saying that the hitchBOT’s 2015 “summer adventure is over,” and that they are considering rebuilding for a 2016 journey, or introducing it to schools and allowing children to determine its travels.
“As researchers, we wanted to know, ‘can robots trust humans?’ and knew there would always be the possibility that hitchBOT would be damaged or stolen,” said David Harris Smith, hitchBOT co-creator and assistant professor at McMaster University. “Even though it did end badly for hitchBOT, we’ve learned a lot about human empathy and trust – everything we’ve learned will be borne out in the resulting research and used in future planning for hitchBOT’s adventures.”
HitchBOT’s journey was cut short in Philadelphia over the weekend, two weeks into its adventure across the United States after successful trips across Canada and into Europe.
A pair of YouTube pranksters admitted to creating a fake video that appeared to show one of their characters beating the child-sized robot. Jesse Wellens of PrankvsPrank and his friend Ed Bassmaster released a video on how they faked the video, but have denied that they destroyed the robot.
The “social robot” went offline on Aug. 1 while waiting for a ride in Philadelphia.
In a press released issued Wednesday, hitchBOT’s creators said the the body of the robot has been found by some its fans, and that the parts are currently “being sent back to its family in Canada.” (Source: CBC News)