Self-driving Waymo taxis don’t have to be set on fire with fireworkssan franciscoplanned inChinatownHeld as part of activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon.
But that’s exactly what happened when a rowdy and rebellious crowd surrounded a self-driving car on Jackson Street last Saturday at 9 p.m. The mob first attacked the Waymo vehicle, breaking its windows and spraying graffiti on it. The fire broke out after someone threw fireworks and lit explosives in the high-tech vehicle, according to witnesses and footage posted on social media.
this wemoself-driving carwas burned. They cheered and took pictures next to the ruins. There were no passengers in the vehicle at that time.
A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson declined to say on the 12th whether any suspects have been identified or arrested in the Chinatown Waymo fire. The police department did not respond to KRON4’s questions about a possible motive behind the disturbance.
A Waymo spokesperson said the fully self-driving car was headed to Jackson Street to pick up passengers when a group of people suddenly surrounded the car and vandalized it.
Several witnesses said that Waymo’s navigation was disrupted due to festivities and fireworks held to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Eyewitness Anirudh Kaul said the driverless car “immediately got stuck in front.”
Another witness said the crowd was disturbed by the car’s presence at the Chinatown event. “People just wanted to celebrate and you could feel their frustration,” he told KRON4. This frustration eventually turned into destructive behavior of humans against machines.
“Hopefully all the camera footage released will lead to the arrest of the rioters,” Kuhl said.
In San Francisco, self-driving cars have a history of breaking down during the holidays, also known as “bricking.” During last summer’s Outside Lands music festival, at least six self-driving cars were stopped in the middle of the road. At the time, a spokesperson for the self-driving car company Cruise said that the car stopped due to “wireless connectivity problems” caused by the music festival.
General Motors-owned robotaxi service Cruise had its license revoked by the California DMV last year after investigators determined its technology posed an “undue risk” to public safety.
While Cruise is temporarily absent from San Francisco, Waymo’s self-driving cars continue to provide rides throughout the city. Waymo, which began as a secret project within Google more than a decade ago, has not been affected by the DMV’s actions against Cruise.
Anyone with information about the Lunar New Year Waymo fire is asked to call SFPD: 415-575-4444.
San Francisco (TagstoTranslate) Self-Driving (T) San Francisco (T) Chinatown