- A Waymo robo-taxi was set on fire by a mob in San Francisco on Saturday.
- The motive is unclear, but distrust of driverless technology is high in the city.
- There have been numerous accidents since the city gave the green light to expanding robotaxi services.
A crowd in San Francisco set a Waymo robo-taxi on fire Saturday night, local firefighters said, amid continued distrust of driverless technology in the city.
The vehicle was “surrounded and then graffitied, windows were broken and fireworks were lit inside the vehicle,” which reduced the vehicle to a shell of ash, according to an article on San Francisco fire.
Pictures shared by a viewerMichael Vandi on X shows a crowd surrounding the vehicle during Lunar New Year celebrations in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
A member of the crowd can be heard shouting “Light that shit on fire!” »
Videos from local media, also shared on show the remains of the vehicle as firefighters douse it in water.
There was no one in the vehicle and no one was injured, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing police.
The fire remains under investigation, the news outlet said.
The motive for the attack on the robo-car is unclear, but self-driving car makers have faced increased scrutiny since the technology took to the streets of San Francisco.
Waymo began testing driverless taxis under various restrictions in San Francisco in 2022.
But it had teething problems: A Wired investigation in April last year gathered numerous dashcam footage showing Waymo vehicles clogging roads and blocking public transportation vehicles.
In May, police were baffled by a Waymo taxi that drove to the scene of a fire and nearly ran over a fire hose.
Nonetheless, driverless taxi companies were given the green light in August to launch expanded services in the city.
This decision almost immediately triggered chaos on the roads.
Cruise, majority owned by General Motors, quickly cut its fleet in half after a series of accidents and traffic jams, and by October – after a woman was trapped under one of its cars – the city had revoked his permits.
Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet, said its autonomous vehicles are “significantly” safer than those driven by humans, referencing a 2023 study based on data shared with insurance company Swissre.
Waymo did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on this latest incident, sent outside of business hours.