In San Francisco’s Chinatown, amid Lunar New Yr celebrations, a crowd surrounded the autonomous car, broke its home windows, and set off fireworks inside it, setting it ablaze. Firefighters referred to as to the scene reported the car had additionally been graffitied.
One video—posted to X by NBC Bay Space’s Gia Vang—exhibits a crowd cheering as somebody begins to interrupt the automotive’s home windows with a skateboard.
BREAKING: An autonomous Waymo car is deliberately set on fireplace in Chinatown, in keeping with SF Hearth. Firefighters stated they bought studies round 10 folks had been concerned.
Waymo stated “a crowd surrounded and vandalized the car, breaking the window and throwing a firework … pic.twitter.com/6QN2jTppRu
— Gia Vang (@Gia_Vang) February 11, 2024
One other posted to YouTube channel Frisco Reside 415 exhibits firefighters working on the scene.
“The car was not transporting any riders and no accidents have been reported,” a Waymo spokesperson advised Fortune. “We’re working intently with native security officers to answer the state of affairs.”
It’s arduous to say at this level whether or not the incident was the results of celebrations getting out of hand or malice towards robotaxis. However the presence of such automobiles on the roads has created a divide in San Francisco.
Waymo, a part of Google mother or father Alphabet, presents its absolutely autonomous Waymo One ride-hailing service 24/7 throughout San Francisco. It additionally operates in elements of Phoenix, is ramping up operations in Los Angeles and Austin, and is attempting to develop to different areas.
In San Francisco, some residents have protested autonomous automobiles by inserting site visitors cones on their hoods, inflicting them to cease. The observe was inspired in an X video post final July by a bunch referred to as Protected Road Insurgent forward of a vote to develop AVs within the metropolis.
The group wrote, “Cruise & Waymo promise they’ll cut back site visitors & collisions, however we all know that’s not true. They block busses & emergency automobiles, create extra site visitors, and are a surveillance nightmare.”
In October, metropolis official suspended the license of Waymo rival Cruise, which GM acquired in 2016. That adopted an accident during which a Cruise robotaxi dragged a pedestrian 20 ft, with authorities feeling the corporate didn’t do sufficient to make them conscious of this truth. A later report criticized Cruise’s “nontransparent strategy to its disclosure obligations” to authorities investigating the accident.
The incident embarrassed GM CEO Mary Barra, whose plan to double the carmaker’s income by the top of the last decade includes making it extra of a tech firm. Cruise had been projected to hit $50 billion in income by 2030, however now that’s up within the air.