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San Francisco crowd lights up Waymo self-driving cars

On February 10, 2024, a Waymo self-driving robot taxi owned by Alphabet's self-driving unit was damaged. The San Francisco Fire Department issued a statement on social media saying that fireworks were thrown into the vehicle. video.Courtesy of Michael Vandy/via Reuters

A group of people in San Francisco vandalized and set a self-driving car on fire Waymo Saturday. The incident marks the worst self-driving car attack in the United States to date.

According to Reuters, the incident occurred in San Francisco’s Chinatown area on Saturday night. The crowd surrounded the moving white SUV, with one person breaking the windshield and others joining in the vandalism. The situation escalated further when someone set off fireworks in a car, causing it to catch fire.

Alphabet subsidiary Waymo confirmed the incident and said the vehicle was not carrying passengers at the time. The San Francisco Police Department is currently investigating the cause of the fire.

Waymo self-driving car catches fire after being thrown into fireworks. Still image from video.By Michael Vandi/via REUTERSWaymo self-driving car catches fire after being thrown into fireworks. Still image from video.By Michael Vandi/via REUTERS

Waymo self-driving car catches fire after being thrown into fireworks. Still image from video.By Michael Vandi/via REUTERS (Reuters/Reuters)

Michael VandyEyewitnesses who shared video of the incident told the publication that people were celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year with fireworks. He described how one person jumped on the hood of a Waymo vehicle and then another 30 seconds later, as some onlookers applauded.

“That’s when it got crazy,” he wrote, describing people breaking glass with skateboards and others painting graffiti on cars. “There were two groups of people. Those who were cheering him on, and others who were just shocked and started filming. No one objected – I mean, there’s not much you can do against dozens of people.”

This isn’t the first time self-driving cars have been targeted for disruption. There have been previous incidents in San Francisco and Phoenix, Arizona, where groups disrupted self-driving vehicle operations. However, the severity of this latest attack, which may have stemmed from an incident in which a pedestrian was dragged away by a car operated by Cruise, may be indicative of growing public hostility. General Motors.

Last week, a self-driving Waymo vehicle collided with a cyclist in San Francisco, causing minor injuries. The state’s automotive regulator is currently reviewing the incident.

A Waymo self-driving car on the streets of San Francisco in November 2023. Photo: JASON HENRY/AFP via Getty Images. A Waymo self-driving car on the streets of San Francisco in November 2023. Photo: JASON HENRY/AFP via Getty Images.

A Waymo self-driving car on the streets of San Francisco in November 2023. Photo: JASON HENRY/AFP via Getty Images. (Jason Henry via Getty Images)

Waymo expands self-driving car service

The incident comes as the self-driving car industry faces increasing scrutiny. In particular, Waymo has been expanding its operations and plans to launch a full line of robotaxis in Los Angeles despite regulatory challenges. The company has also been offering 24-hour self-driving transportation in San Francisco since October.

However, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk highlighted, the industry faces challenges, including criticism of its post-accident response. Recent events have heightened growing concerns about the safety and public acceptance of autonomous vehicles.

Meanwhile, General Motors Co.’s self-driving car unit Cruise has come under scrutiny after a serious accident involving one of its self-driving taxis. A California judge recently urged Cruz to increase his settlement offer in the case.

You can also read: France suffers massive cyberattack: 33 million data exposed

Read more at Benzinga Spain

You may also be interested | In the video: Stranded self-driving taxi asks passers-by for help

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