Crowd sets Waymo self-driving car on fire in San Francisco

A Waymo self-driving robotaxi, owned by Alphabet's self-driving unit, has been vandalized, the San Francisco Fire Department said in a statement on social media. Fireworks were thrown at the vehicle in a still image on Feb. 10, 2024.  Of video.  Courtesy of Michael Vandi/via Reuters

A crowd vandalized and set fire to a self-driving car in San Francisco waymo Saturday. The incident is the most serious attack on self-driving cars to date in the United States.

Reuters reported that the incident occurred in San Francisco’s Chinatown district on Saturday night. The crowd surrounded the moving white SUV, with one person breaking the windshield and others joining in to vandalize the car. Matters worsened when someone set off fireworks inside, causing the car to catch fire.

Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, confirmed the incident and said there were no passengers in the car at the time. The San Francisco Police Department is currently investigating the cause of the fire.

A Waymo self-driving car burst into flames after fireworks were thrown at it.  Still image from video.  Courtesy of Michael Vandi/via ReutersA Waymo self-driving car burst into flames after fireworks were thrown at it.  Still image from video.  Courtesy of Michael Vandi/via Reuters

A Waymo self-driving car burst into flames after fireworks were thrown at it. Still image from video. Courtesy of Michael Vandi/via Reuters (Reuters/Reuters)

Michael VandiA witness who shared video of the incident told the publication that people were celebrating China’s Lunar New Year with fireworks. He described how one person jumped on the hood of a Waymo car, followed 30 seconds later by another person, which some spectators applauded.

“That’s when it got wild,” he wrote, describing people with skateboards breaking windows and others scrawling graffiti on cars. “There were 2 groups of people. Those who were cheering him on—and others who were just shocked and started filming. No one objected—I mean, there wasn’t much you could do with dozens of people facing you.”

This is not the first time that self-driving cars have been the target of vandalism. Previous incidents in San Francisco and Phoenix, Arizona have seen groups disrupting self-driving car operations. However, the severity of this latest attack may indicate growing public hostility, possibly stemming from an accident in which a pedestrian was struck by a car driven by a Cruze unit. General Motors,

Last week, a self-driving Waymo car collided with a cyclist in San Francisco, resulting in minor injuries. The state automotive regulator is currently reviewing the incident.

A Waymo autonomous car on the streets of San Francisco in November 2023.  Photo: Jason Henry/AFP via Getty Images. A Waymo autonomous car on the streets of San Francisco in November 2023.  Photo: Jason Henry/AFP via Getty Images.

A Waymo autonomous car on the streets of San Francisco in November 2023. Photo: Jason Henry/AFP via Getty Images. (Jason Henry via Getty Images)

Waymo expands autonomous car services

The incident comes as the self-driving car industry faces increasing scrutiny. Waymo, in particular, is expanding its operations, with plans to launch a full line of robotaxis in Los Angeles, despite regulatory challenges. The company has also been offering 24-hour autonomous transportation services in San Francisco since October.

However, the industry has faced challenges, including criticism for its post-crash responses, as highlighted by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The recent incident adds to growing concerns about the safety and public acceptance of self-driving cars.

Meanwhile, Cruise, the self-driving car division of General Motors, is also under investigation after a serious accident involving one of its self-driving taxis. A California judge recently urged Cruz to increase his settlement offer in the case.

You can also read: Massive cyber attack in France: 33M data compromised

Read more at Benzinga Spain

You may also be interested. on video: Stuck autonomous taxi asks for help from passersby

(TagstoTranslate)San Francisco(T)Waymo(T)Group of people(T)Fireworks(T)Michael Vandy

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