• Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

San Francisco Mob Attacks Waymo Driverless Taxi in Spontaneous Protest

ByEditor

Feb 11, 2024
Crowd sets self-driving taxi on fire in San Francisco

Last night in San Francisco, an individual decided to take matters into their own hands and vandalize a Waymo driverless taxi. Around 9pm (local time), the person jumped on the hood of the car and shattered its windshield, generating spontaneous applause from those present. However, things quickly escalated as a crowd formed around the vehicle, covering it in spray paint, breaking the windows, and finally setting it on fire. Despite the timely intervention of the firefighters, who arrived a few minutes later, the flames had already completely engulfed the car.

The causes behind this act of vandalism remain unclear at this time. Sandy Karp, a representative for Waymo, stated that the fully autonomous car was “not carrying passengers” at the time of the attack. San Francisco Police Department public information officer Robert Rueca confirmed that law enforcement responded “at approximately 8:50 p.m. to find the car already in flames.” There were no reports of injuries during this incident.

The charred wreckage of Waymo’s electric Jaguar taxi serves as a symbol of growing tension between San Francisco residents and operators of automated vehicles. The suspension of operations for rival robotaxi Cruise by California Department of Motor Vehicles following an accident last year where one of its vehicles hit and dragged a pedestrian has fueled debate on safety concerns related to these services in urban life. Additionally, previous episodes involving automated taxis blocking traffic or colliding with fire engines have only added to these debates.

The opposition from city officials and some residents towards 24/7 operation of these cars has become more vocal through actions such as placing orange cones on vehicle hoods as well as other symbolic gestures against technology imposition. This incident fits into a broader context where technology companies face challenges when deploying devices in public spaces – something that has historical precedents ranging from shared bicycle destruction to episodes of violence against electric vehicles and scooters.

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