In San Francisco, a crowd vandalized a Waymo self-driving car, breaking its windshield and setting it on fire. The car was navigating through Chinatown when the crowd surrounded it and initiated the violence. A former Amazon software engineer, Michael Vandi, who was present when the incident happened, described the scene as someone in a white hoodie jumped on the hood of the car and broke the windshield by WWE style K/O. The Waymo car was eventually burned to ashes, following which the fire department report led them to the scene.
This incident came after a string of accidents and mishaps involving self-driving cars. In the past, a Waymo car hit a bicyclist in San Francisco and a GM autonomous Cruise vehicle dragged a pedestrian for 20 feet. The negative attitude toward self-driving cars is evident in San Francisco and this incident is seen as the worst case of vandalism on an autonomous vehicle. The incident has been described as having two types of energies – one that vandalizes and destroys things and the other has opposite energy which is quiet and peaceful.
No one made a move to stop the crowd that vandalized the car, and the incident has raised concerns about the safety of autonomous vehicles and the growing toxicity toward this kind of technology. With more accidents and mishaps involving self-driving cars, the negative attitude toward them is becoming increasingly overt in San Francisco. Efforts must be taken to understand and address this attitude to ensure the safety and adoption of autonomous vehicles in the future.