A driverless Waymo vehicle became the target of vandalism and arson amidst the bustling streets of San Francisco's Chinatown on Saturday evening.
Eyewitnesses and reports from The Autopian detail a chaotic scene where an individual leaped onto the vehicle's bonnet and shattered its front window. This act of aggression swiftly escalated as a crowd allegedly congregated, further damaging the vehicle by breaking its windows and defacing it with spray paint, culminating in the car being set on fire.
Waymo, known for its driverless taxi service within the city, confirmed that the vehicle was unoccupied at the time of the incident, ensuring no passenger injuries.
The San Francisco Fire Department, responding to the incident, reported via social media that the vehicle was not only ‘surrounded’ and vandalised but also had fireworks ignited inside it, leading to a fire that engulfed the entire car. This incident is likely to add a new layer of concern regarding the integration of autonomous vehicles in urban environments, sparking debates on security measures and public acceptance.
A San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson said on social media: “Waymo Vehicle surrounded and then graffiti’d, windows were broken, and firework lit on fire inside the vehicle which ultimately caught the entire vehicle on fire.”