The incident that took place in San Francisco on Monday night, where an angry mob destroyed a Waymo self-driving taxi, has sparked concern and debate about the safety and public acceptance of autonomous technology.
The attack occurred around 9 pm local time when a group of approximately 20 people surrounded the stopped Waymo vehicle. The vehicle was then painted with graffiti, windows were broken, and fireworks were set off inside the vehicle which ultimately set the entire vehicle on fire. Photos by Séraphine Hossenlopp shared by the San Francisco Fire Department show the extent of the damage caused by this attack.
While footage of the event has emerged online, it is unclear what prompted the mob to destroy the vehicle. Speculation has arisen following a recent incident in which a Waymo vehicle collided with a cyclist in the city. Waymo attributed the collision to the cyclist suddenly emerging from behind a large truck, catching the autonomous vehicle off guard. However, there is no evidence to suggest that aggrieved cyclists were involved in this attack on the Waymo vehicle.
San Francisco’s streets have seen an increased presence of autonomous vehicles until recent controversies led companies like Cruise robotaxi to ground their entire fleet. Incidents involving Cruise vehicles have raised concerns about safety and reliability of autonomous technology.
Despite celebrating one million miles of fatality-free autonomous operations by early 2023, Waymo has faced twenty “contact incidents,” half of which involved human drivers colliding with its vehicles.
As investigations continue into what prompted this attack on the Waymo vehicle, it underscores ongoing debates around self-driving technology’s safety and public acceptance.
According to IoT Tech News ( these events highlight broader issues concerning public perception and acceptance of self-driving technology.
This article serves as a reminder that while advancements in technology bring great promise for convenience and efficiency, they also raise important questions about safety and social impact. It will be interesting to see how this incident impacts future developments in self-driving technology and how companies like Waymo respond to such challenges moving forward.