Self-driving vehicle set ablaze by crowd in San Francisco

San Francisco: A crowd vandalised and set fire to a Waymo self-driving car using a firework in San Francisco on Saturday, the Alphabet-owned company and authorities said, marking the latest public attack on such vehicles in the US.

The incident began around 9pm local time on Saturday in the city’s Chinatown district when a crowd surrounded a white sport utility vehicle that was moving along the street, a company spokesperson said.

A self-driving car is torched in San Francisco.

Video footage posted on social media showed one person drawing graffiti on the SUV and another using a skateboard to smash one of the windows, prompting cheers from the crowd. Footage showed the vehicle on fire with a huge plume of black smoke in the air.

The fire department posted pictures on social media of the charred remains of the car and said a firework started the blaze.

“The vehicle was not transporting any riders and no injuries have been reported. We are working closely with local safety officials to respond to the situation,” the company said. It did not say what caused the attack.

The car is set alight in San Francisco.

The car is set alight in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Police Department said it was investigating the cause of the fire.

The incident was not the first time people have attacked self-driving cars, but its severity may illustrate growing public hostility following a pedestrian-dragging accident last year involving a vehicle operated by General Motors’ Cruise unit.

On previous occasions in San Francisco and Phoenix, Arizona, groups have disrupted the operations of self-driving vehicles, blocking their path, trying to enter the vehicles and jumping on their hoods.

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  • Source of information and images “brisbanetimes”

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