A horrifying act of vandalism occurred last night in Chinatown, San Francisco, when a crowd attacked and damaged a Waymo driverless cab, leaving it burnt and wrecked. The driverless car was being praised by onlookers when someone leaped onto its bonnet and smashed its windshield at approximately nine o’clock in the evening Pacific Time. The crowd grew more belligerent, throwing rocks at the car, breaking windows, and finally setting it on fire.
The Autopian adds that although the fire brigade arrived quickly, the vehicle had already been completely destroyed by flames. The automobile was not carrying any passengers at the time of the attack, according to Waymo spokesman Sandy Karp, who also claimed that pyrotechnics were thrown inside and started the fire. Thankfully, no injuries were recorded.
Videos of the devastation were circulated via social media, displaying the Waymo Jaguar’s burned-out remnants. The rising hostilities between autonomous car operators and San Francisco residents are exemplified by this occurrence. The community is more concerned now than before due to incidents involving driverless cars, such as one that happened just last week that involved a cyclist.
The opposition to driverless cars is not new in San Francisco. In the past, locals have objected to the cars’ existence; in defiance, some even put orange cones on their hoods. The most recent instance of vandalism highlights a larger social issue that tech businesses dealing with when using autonomous technologies in public areas.
Vandalism and defacement have a long history in human culture, ranging from attacks on public infrastructure in the present day to graffiti on ancient walls. Businesses need to face the possibility that as technology develops, their creations can be vandalized. Tech companies and local officials are equally concerned about the difficulty of protecting public assets, whether it is scooters being thrown into lakes or driverless automobiles being wrecked.