Videos show San Francisco crowd destroying Waymo robotaxi

In San Francisco’s Chinatown, during the Lunar New Year celebrations, a crowd surrounded the autonomous vehicle, broke its windows and lit fireworks inside, setting it on fire. The firefighters responded to the scene reported the vehicle had also been graffitied.

One video—posted on X by NBC Bay Area’s Gia Vang—shows a crowd cheering as someone begins smashing car windows with a skateboard.

Another posted to the YouTube channel Frisco Live 415 shows firefighters working at the scene.

“The vehicle was carrying no passengers and no injuries were reported,” a Waymo spokesperson said Fortune. “We are working closely with local security officials to respond to the situation.”

It’s hard to say at this point whether the accident was the result of celebrations getting out of hand or malice towards robotaxis. But the presence of such vehicles on the streets has created a divide in San Francisco.

Waymo, part of Google’s parent company Alphabet, offers its fully autonomous Waymo One ride-hailing service 24/7 throughout San Francisco. It also operates in parts of Phoenix, is ramping up operations in Los Angeles and Austin and is looking to expand into other areas.

In San Francisco, some residents protested autonomous vehicles by placing traffic cones on their hoods, forcing them to stop. The practice was encouraged in an X video send last July by a group called Safe Street Rebel before a vote to expand AVs in the city.

The group wrote: “Cruise and Waymo promise they will reduce traffic and collisions, but we know that’s not true. They block buses and emergency vehicles, create more traffic and are a nightmare for surveillance.”

In October, city officials suspended the license of rival Waymo Cruise, which GM acquired in 2016. That followed an accident in which a Cruise robotaxi dragged a pedestrian 20 feet, and authorities believed the company had not done enough to make them aware of this. Done. A subsequent report criticized Cruise’s “non-transparent approach to his disclosure obligations” to authorities investigating the incident.

The incident embarrassed GM Chief Executive Mary Barra, whose plan to double the automaker’s revenue by the end of the decade involves making it increasingly a technology company. Cruise was expected to reach $50 billion in revenue by 2030, but that’s now still up in the air.

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