Crowd sets self-driving taxi on fire in San Francisco

Last night, a shocking incident of vandalism occurred in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown, marking a new chapter in the already tense relations between the city and automated vehicle companies. Around 9pm (local time), an individual jumped on the hood of a Waymo driverless taxi and then shattered its windshield. The act was met with spontaneous applause from those present, before escalating quickly into chaos.

The causes behind this act of vandalism remain unclear at the moment, but one thing is clear: Waymo’s fully autonomous car was not carrying passengers at the time of the attack. Fireworks were thrown into the car, sparking the flames that soon engulfed it completely despite the timely intervention of firefighters. Sandy Karp, a representative for Waymo, confirmed that there were no injuries reported during this incident.

This event has only added to the growing tension between San Francisco residents and operators of automated vehicles. The suspension of operations by rival robotaxi Cruise following an accident last year and previous episodes in which these vehicles caused chaos by blocking traffic or colliding with fire engines have fueled this debate. Moreover, opposition from city officials and some residents to these cars’ 24/7 operation has been manifested through symbolic gestures such as placing orange cones on their hoods. This incident fits into a broader context of challenges that technology companies face in deploying their devices in public space, with historical precedents ranging from destroyed shared bicycles to violence against electric vehicles and scooters.

By Editor

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