Waymo driverless robotaxi attacked and set on fire in San Francisco

Credit: @San Francisco Fire Department Media/X

A Waymo self-driving Jaguar I-PACE robotaxi was set ablaze and vandalized by a crowd in San Francisco on Saturday evening. The shocking incident, which drew criticism from social media users, happened in the city’s Chinatown area. 

Michael Vandi, a software engineer who happened to be in the area when the incident happened, described the sequence of events that transpired which led to the crowd attacking the Jaguar I-PACE and setting it on fire. As per The Autopian, there was a small traffic holdup with a Waymo in front of it. This reportedly resulted in a person jumping into the hood of the car and breaking the vehicle’s windshield. 

What followed was chaos. Another person reportedly jumped on the hood of the self-driving vehicle, which prompted cheers from other people. Others soon broke the self-driving I-PACE’s glass and vandalized the vehicle. Things escalated further when fireworks were lit under and inside the car. The vehicle proceeded to burn as a result.

Franky Francisco with FriscoLive415, which has shared footage of the shocking event, described his observations during the event’s aftermath. As per Francisco, the Jaguar I-PACE’s battery seemed to have reignited multiple times as the vehicle burned. 

“When I arrived on the scene, SFFD was already on scene hosing down the car with water and their chemical extinguishers. The battery appeared to be reigniting multiple times and was smoking like crazy. The live footage I did on X gives a decent idea of how I came onto the scene, which was after the attack on the vehicle. The vehicle looked completely ‘decapitated’ and I have never seen a vehicle that damaged up close,” he said. 

Waymo has issued a short statement about the incident: “At approximately 9 PM on Saturday, February 10th, a fully autonomous Waymo vehicle was navigating on Jackson Street in San Francisco when a crowd surrounded and vandalized the vehicle, breaking the window and throwing a firework inside, which set the vehicle on fire. The vehicle was not transporting any riders and no injuries have been reported. We are working closely with local safety officials to respond to the situation,” Waymo noted. 

Watch FriscoLive415’s footage of the incident in the video below. 

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Waymo driverless robotaxi attacked and set on fire in San Francisco
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