Driverless Waymo car vandalized and set on fire in San Francisco

Yesterday evening, an autonomous Waymo car was set on a fire in San Francisco. The moment was captured and recorded on social media by several bystanders.

According to one eyewitness account from Michael Vandi provided to The Autopian, people were setting off fireworks (Lunar New Year was Saturday) on Jackson Street in San Francisco. An electric Jaguar I-Pace operated by Waymo was waiting for that crowd to disperse when somebody “jumped on the hood of the car” and broke the windshield. 

Others joined in: “People with skateboards breaking the glass, and others graffitiing the car.” The situation then escalated: 

Then someone with fireworks initially lit it under the car -nothing happened but it was loud enough to disperse the crow including me who didn’t want to be near it anymore and you can see the 3rd and 4th videos were taken from 1/2 a block away zoomed in.

I’m not sure what happened next but it’s my understanding that fireworks was lit (now inside the car) then there was smoke for about 30 seconds before full on flames started.

The San Francisco Fire Department arrived on the scene a few minutes later, with the Waymo car on fire. There’s footage of the emergency response where you can see the graffiti in question.

SFFD has since provided more details and images, confirming how “windows were broken, and firework lit on fire inside the vehicle.”

A Waymo spokesperson told The Verge that there were no passengers in the vehicle. The Waymo One ride-hailing service today is operational 24/7 “across all of San Francisco.” It’s also live in Phoenix and conducting public testing in Los Angeles ahead of a launch of the paid service.

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