A person jumped on the hood of a Waymo driverless taxi and smashed its windshield in San Francisco’s Chinatown last night around 9PM PT, generating applause before a crowd formed around the car and covered it in spray paint, breaking its windows, and ultimately set it on fire. The fire department arrived minutes later, according to a report in The Autopian, but by then flames had already fully engulfed the car.
At the moment, no outlets seem to have reported a motive for the attack. Waymo representative Sandy Karp told The Verge via email that the fully autonomous car “was not transporting any riders” when it was attacked and fireworks were tossed inside the car, sparking the flames. Public Information Officer Robert Rueca of San Francisco’s police department confirmed in an email to The Verge that police responded at “approximately” 8:50PM PT to find the car already on fire, adding that there were “no reports of injuries.”
A video posted by the FriscoLive415 YouTube channel shows the burnt-out husk of the electric Waymo Jaguar.
Another set of videos posted by software developer Michael Vendi gives a view into the scene as it played out and the fire grew.
City officials and residents opposed the cars being given a license for 24/7 operation last year, with some residents rendering them immobile by putting orange cones on the cars’ hoods in protest.
Update February 11th, 2024, 3:00PM ET: Updated attribution for San Francisco Police Public Information Officer Robert Rueca.