A destructive episode of vandalism has struck the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown, marking a new chapter in the already tense relations between the city and automated vehicle companies. At around 9pm (local time) yesterday, an individual jumped on the hood of a Waymo driverless taxi and then shattered its windshield. The act generated spontaneous applause among those present, before the situation quickly escalated: a crowd formed around the vehicle, covering it in spray paint, breaking the windows and, finally, setting it on fire. Despite the timely intervention of the firefighters, who arrived a few minutes later, the flames had already completely engulfed the car.
The causes behind this act of vandalism remain unclear at the moment. Sandy Karp, a representative for Waymo, said that their fully autonomous car was “not carrying passengers” at the time of attack. However, she did not provide further details about what led to this incident. San Francisco Police Department public information officer Robert Rueca confirmed that law enforcement responded “at approximately 8:50 p.m.” to find