A self-driving taxi operated by Google’s Waymo was attacked and destroyed by an angry mob in San Francisco over the weekend. An angry crowd used fireworks to set the vehicle on fire in a furious standoff that brought together lawless, driverless California vehicles.
Techspot reports that on Saturday evening around 9 p.m., a Waymo self-driving Jaguar I-Pace was surrounded and attacked by a mob while cruising through San Francisco’s Chinatown. According to eyewitnesses, the incident began when there was a slight traffic jam and someone jumped on the hood of the stationary robo-taxi and smashed the windshield.
This prompted others to join in and vandalize the vehicle using skateboards and other objects to smash the windows. The car was then covered in graffiti while fireworks were thrown inside, setting the empty taxi on fire.
Video footage of the incident shows the self-driving Waymo completely engulfed in flames. The motive for the crowd’s behavior remains unknown, although tensions between San Francisco residents and robotaxis have increased over time. There have been previous incidents where Cruise and Waymo driverless vehicles blocked traffic, crashed and even ran over a dog in the city.
-Michael Vandi (@michael_vandi) February 11, 2024
Residents began protesting the 24/7 operation and the prices of self-driving taxis. In October last year, a pedestrian death involving a Cruise robotaxi led to the suspension of the company’s license to operate autonomous vehicles in California. Although the weekend attack was the most violent incident so far, it reflects San Franciscans’ growing resentment of robo-taxis operating in the city.
Some of the ill will toward Waymo in particular may be driven by incidents involving its cars since GM Cruise pulled its robotaxis from San Francisco. As Breitbart News recently reported, a Waymo self-driving car was involved in an incident where it hit a cyclist:
The Verge reports that a self-driving car built by Google’s Waymo struck and injured a cyclist in San Francisco on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 6. The incident occurred at the intersection of 17th and Mississippi streets in the Potrero Hill neighborhood. According to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), the autonomous vehicle collided with a person on a bicycle, causing non-life-threatening injuries.
The Waymo vehicle was stopped at a four-way stop when a large truck began turning toward the intersection, according to a statement from Waymo spokeswoman Julia Ilina. The Waymo car waited its turn and then headed toward the intersection, without identifying the cyclist behind the truck.
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Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.