KRON 4 news on Waymo fire Feb 24

SF self-driving car attack – isolated incident or worrying escalation?

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Self-driving Waymo destroyed in shocking San Francisco attack

February 11 saw one of the most violent attacks on a self-driving vehicle to date, as a Waymo Jaguar I-PACE was surrounded, vandalised and burnt-out in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

The car was unoccupied, no one was hurt, and the incident appears to have been a one-off, according to this KRON 4 local news report:

Waymo self-driving car set on fire in San Francisco – Feb 2024

Self-driving car set on fire

The film shows a firework being launched into the cabin, starting a blaze which completely destroyed the car.

While the motive for the attack remains unclear, Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, told Reuters: “Most normal car drivers know that they have to avoid Chinatown during the Lunar New Year holidays. The computer doesn’t understand that.”

Last summer, the UK’s Self-Driving All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) predicted that people will quickly become bored with protest actions like ‘coning’ – rendering a car inoperable by placing a traffic cone on the bonnet.

With The Independent speculating that “battle lines have been drawn in the war on Big Tech”, let’s hope the APPG are right.

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Author: Neil Kennett

Neil is MD of Featurebank Ltd. He launched in 2019.