A Waymo self-driving car was mobbed, vandalized, and set on fire by a group of people in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The shocking act of violence against the driverless vehicle took place as bystanders filmed the incident and cheered on the perpetrators, who were seen ramming a skateboard and drink container into the car before setting it ablaze with a firework. The vehicle, which was not carrying any passengers, was ultimately engulfed in flames, causing significant damage. The alarming event coincided with the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year and posed a potential threat to the densely populated neighborhood, prompting criticism from local officials and residents.
The San Francisco Fire Department, responding to the scene, reported that the car was completely destroyed by the fire, and authorities are currently conducting an investigation to apprehend the individuals responsible for the act. This incident adds to the growing tensions between the residents of San Francisco and the driverless cars that have become a common sight on the city’s streets, where concerns have previously been raised about the disruptiveness and safety of these autonomous vehicles. While no injuries were reported in this particular incident, the brazen attack on the Waymo vehicle has reignited public anxieties about the widespread adoption of driverless technology and the potential risks associated with it.
Mayor London Breed and other local officials have condemned the violent act, emphasizing the potential dangers posed by the fire to the community and the significance of the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities. The disturbing incident echoes previous concerns about the safety of driverless technology in San Francisco, where driverless cars have been involved in accidents and disruptions, fueling skepticism and opposition to their presence on the city’s streets. As the investigation continues and questions about accountability and public safety arise, tensions between technology and the community are likely to intensify as San Francisco grapples with the ramifications of the attack on the Waymo vehicle.