robot hitchhiker
An anthropomorphic robot named hitchBOT sits on the shoulder of Highway 102 outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. The hitch hiking robot is part of a social experiment to see if drivers will pick up and drop off the robot in one piece. Reuters

A child-sized hitchhiking robot that was at the mercy of travellers to get around, suffered a sad end to its US tour after being irreparably damaged in Philadelphia.

The social experiment in the form of robot HitchBOT ventured into US starting with Massachusetts on 17 July.

The robot was designed with a thumb pointing upwards and a writing written across its front that read: "San Francisco or bust."

"Sadly, sadly it's come to an end. I hope that people won't be too disappointed, too sad," said Frauke Zeller, hitchBOT's co-creator, reported Sky News.

A message on its website read: "Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends."

The robot has managed to travel across places all thanks to passersby with its itinerary, including a Red Sox game, a trip to a beach and a Comic Con event and wedding in Europe.

Fitted with a camera, researchers were able to track HitchBOT's whereabouts using a GPS.

The in-built camera reportedly captured an image every 20 minutes.

Colin Gagich and Dominik Kaukinen (R), two McMaster University mechatronics students, are the makers of the physical HitchBOT. They are part of a team of artists, computer geeks and communications researchers who built the robot to take rides with people. Getty Images