Amid the Lunar New Year festivities in San Francisco on Saturday night, chaos erupted on the streets of the city's Chinatown neighborhood as a driverless taxi was set ablaze by an unruly crowd.
According to reports from The San Francisco Standard, vandals surrounded a Waymo robotaxi before smashing its window and hurling fireworks inside. The incident occurred on Jackson Street near Grant Street and was captured on camera, showing the vehicle engulfed in flames and smoke.
While the motive behind the destructive act remains unclear, the autonomous vehicle was not carrying any passengers at the time, as confirmed by the report.
Eyewitnesses observed several individuals tagging the vehicle with graffiti before one person used a skateboard to smash its windows, leading to the ignition of a firework within the car.
In response to the incident, Waymo stated, "We are working closely with local safety officials to respond to the situation." The company also revealed that the vehicle had recently dropped off a rider and was en route to its next destination when the attack occurred.
Despite the damage, Waymo assured that no injuries were reported, and the company intends to resume services on Sunday. This comes as residents of San Francisco prepare to enjoy Super Bowl festivities, cheering on their hometown team, the 49ers.
Waymo operates driverless taxis in multiple cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Austin, with a mission to "make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going."