In a disturbing incident, vandals targeted a driverless taxi in San Francisco, causing extensive damage by smashing its windows, covering it in paint, and igniting fireworks inside. The vehicle, owned and operated by Waymo, the autonomous driving unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet, was subjected to the attack on Saturday evening. Fortunately, no passengers were inside the vehicle at the time.
Footage of the incident, captured by Frisco Live 415, has been shared on YouTube, showing the extent of the vandalism and subsequent efforts by firefighters to address the aftermath.
A spokesperson for Waymo confirmed the incident and stated, “At approximately 9 pm on Saturday, 10 February, a fully autonomous Waymo vehicle was navigating on Jackson Street in San Francisco when a crowd surrounded and vandalized the vehicle, breaking the window and throwing a firework inside, which set the vehicle on fire. The vehicle was not transporting any riders, and no injuries have been reported.”
The company is actively cooperating with local safety officials to respond to the situation. The vandalism incident raises concerns about the safety and acceptance of autonomous vehicles, especially as San Francisco is one of the only two cities in the US to authorize their use on public roads. The act of vandalism reflects a broader frustration with the integration of driverless cars, prompting discussions about the security measures needed to protect these emerging technologies.