Two weeks ago, researchers from Ryerson University in Toronto started an experiment to see if a robot could hitchhike across America. They called it 'hitchBOT,' and put it by the side of the road in Boston with a sign saying "San Francisco or Bust!"

Obviously they hoped different people would take interest, and gradually drive it all the way to California. It came with a bucket list of places to visit, like Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon, and could answer simple questions.

They had good reason to be optimistic, it's already made trips across Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. Things started out pretty well too. The robot made it to Fenway, visited three cities in Massachusetts, hung out on a fishing boat, and got all the way to Times Square.

Unfortunately it wound up in Philadelphia this weekend, where people destroyed it, stole the electronics inside, and took its head. The researchers said they're regrouping and issued this statement:

hitchBOT’s trip came to an end last night in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks hitchhiking and visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City. Unfortunately, hitchBOT was vandalized overnight in Philadelphia; sometimes bad things happen to good robots. We know that many of hitchBOT’s fans will be disappointed, but we want them to be assured that this great experiment is not over. For now we will focus on the question “what can be learned from this?” and explore future adventures for robots and humans.

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.

This video is believed to be the last time hitchBOT was seen before being destroyed (WARNING: NSFW Language):