During Lunar New Year celebrations in San Francisco’s Chinatown, a Waymo self-driving car was vandalized and set on fire by a crowd of people.
The incident occurred on Saturday night, with witnesses reporting that individuals jumped on the hood of the autonomous vehicle, smashed its windshield, and set it ablaze.
Videos posted online show the burnt-out remains of the electric Waymo Jaguar.
Fortunately, no passengers were in the vehicle at the time, and there were no reported injuries. Waymo spokesperson Sandy Karp stated that the company is working closely with local safety officials to respond to the situation.
The motive behind the vandalism remains unclear, and the San Francisco Police Department is investigating the cause of the fire.
This incident follows previous attempts by groups in San Francisco and Phoenix to disrupt the operations of self-driving cars, raising questions about potential public opposition to autonomous vehicles.
The destruction of the Waymo vehicle occurred a day before the Super Bowl NFL championship, adding a layer of uncertainty to the motivations behind the act.
Authorities are still investigating the incident, and it is yet to be determined whether any arrests have been made in connection with the vandalism and arson.
Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), provides 24/7 fully autonomous ride-hailing services through Waymo One in San Francisco.
The service is also available in parts of Phoenix and is expanding operations in Los Angeles and Austin, with plans for further expansion into other areas.