Driverless 'Robotaxi’ Set Ablaze with Fireworks in San Francisco
A driverless taxi was set on fire during Lunar New Year celebrations in San Francisco Saturday night, according to new reports from videos on social media.
In the city’s Chinatown neighborhood, vandals surrounded the Waymo robotaxi, breaking its windows and throwing fireworks inside.
The autonomous vehicle was not carrying any passengers at the time.
The driverless car erupted in fire and smoke as crowds clogged Jackson Street near Grant Street.
The New York Post reported:
“After several people tagged the vehicle with graffiti, a man was seen smashing the windows with a skateboard before someone threw a firework inside.”
“We are working closely with local safety officials to respond to the situation,” Waymo told the newspaper.
The vehicle had dropped off a rider and was on its way to another destination when the event occurred,” the company said.
A video posted on social media showed a crowd vandalizing a Waymo robotaxi in San Francisco before setting it on fire, highlighting growing hostility toward self-driving cars https://t.co/5s5DI8hA8L pic.twitter.com/hHif0U4ARe
— JP (@JP) February 12, 2024
“The San Francisco Police Department said it was investigating the cause of the fire and did not say whether arrests have been made. The electric car, a Jaguar I-PACE, is equipped with 29 cameras and other sensors.”
This isn’t the first time an incident has occurred with self-driving cars.
Last year, in San Francisco and Phoenix, Arizona, groups disrupted the operations of self-driving vehicles by blocking their paths.
Last week, a driverless Waymo car crashed into a cyclist in San Francisco, causing minor injuries.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
“Concerned the robotaxis could be dangerous, Mayor Karen Bass asked regulators in November to increase their scrutiny and said the city should have a say in how they are regulated.
At the time, she said one of the Waymo driverless cars operating in Los Angeles had failed to initially stop for a traffic officer at Beaudry Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard on Aug. 3, 2023.
The officer had been signaling east- and westbound traffic to come to a stop.
Since then, union and local officials have been ratcheting up pressure on the company. Earlier this month, the the head of the city’s firefighters union appeared with other local officials on the steps of City Hall backing legislation introduced by California state Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San José) that would give local officials more control of autonomous vehicles.”
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