Hitchhiking robot ‘hitchBOT’ might get second shot at his U.S. bucket list

On hitchBOT’s “bucket list” for his trip to the U.S. were a visit to Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon.

But he never got to achieve any of those goals after he was ripped to pieces in the City of Brotherly Love, which is also known by another grim moniker — “Killadelphia.”

hitchBOT,a robot traveling from Canada whose trip across the US was cut short when he was killed in Philadelphia, isnow the focus of social media attention — including efforts to identify the man seen on video smashing the hapless robot as it sat on an Old City bench.

Meanwhile, the creators of hitchBOT have reportedly begun to consider rebuilding the robot after an outpouring of support that includes Philly-area roboticists and aKickstarter launched by Philadelphians.

The Toronto-based scientists behind hitchBOT said Monday that they have been “overwhelmed with support and offers to revive the robot,” the AP reported.

Frauke Zeller and David Smith, the co-creators of hitchBOTand teachers at Ryerson University, were not available Monday to comment.

“We have no interest in pressing charges or finding the people who vandalized hitchBOT; we wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same,” the hitchBOT family said in a statement online.

HitchBOT’s creators said they would reveal more information on Wednesday.

Georgia Guthrie, directorof the Hacktory, called on local techies to meet up this Thursday evening for a Project Night to begin plans to either help the hitchBOT creators, or to build their own “hitchBOT2.”

“We feel it’s the least we can do to let everyone, especially the robot community, know that Philly isn’t so bad,” Guthrie said in a post on thehacktory.org.

Meanwhile, the “Philadelphia Rebuilds hitchBOT”Kickstarter crowdfunding campaignhad raised about $1,700 as of Monday afternoon, more than the $1,200 goal. Creator Nick Green said he and his “tech savyfriends” would use the funds to rebuild hitchBOT.

For now, rumors abound that hitchBOT, which is still missing, may have been picked up by a Providence, R.I.-based fan, who intended to ship hitchBOTback to Toronto.

HitchBOT was brought to Philly early Saturday morning.

“It’s a shame that it was destroyed especially when so many people took interest in it and the team from Canada poured such time and effort into it, but we can’t pin what happened on the city of Philadelphia,” said Colin O’Gallagher, who drove hitchBOT to Philly.

HitchBOT was picked up from O’Gallagher by local vloggers Jesse Wellen and Ed Bassmaster, who left it in Old City on a bench near Elfreths Alley for it to hitch its next ride, they told 6ABC. Wellen did not respond to requests for comment.

More from our Sister Sites