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Waymo’s autonomous car up in flames: vandalism sparks debate over self-driving safety

Social media videos showed the EV catching fire and emitting a massive cloud of black smoke.

Waymo, an Alphabet subsidiary, reported that on February 10, a crowd in San Francisco vandalized and set a self-driving car on fire by hurling a firework inside of it.

The San Francisco Fire Department received a dispatch to Jackson Street in Chinatown around 9 PM, where Lunar New Year celebrations were in full swing.

Although there have previously been attacks on self-driving cars, the severity of this particular incident could indicate a shift in public opinion following a self-driving car mishap involving a General Motors Cruise unit that last year involved dragging a pedestrian.

Social media videos showed the EV catching fire and emitting a massive cloud of black smoke.

The company stated, “There have been no reports of injuries, and the truck was not carrying any passengers. In order to address the situation, we are collaborating closely with regional safety officials.” 

According to the San Francisco Fire Department, the police took up the case and are looking into what caused the attack. However, according to initial reports, the fire department claimed that a firework inside the car caused the fire and shared images of the charred remnants of the vehicle on social media. 

Moreover, the state’s auto authority is investigating last week’s San Francisco collision between a Waymo driverless vehicle and a cyclist, which resulted in minor injuries. Additionally, on October 2, a pedestrian who had been struck by another car was flung into the path of a Cruise autonomous car and hauled six meters. Ultimately, Cruise halted testing all of its self-driving vehicles in the U.S. after California suspended the company’s permission to conduct driverless tests.

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Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell
Jaelyn Campbell is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. She is a recent honors cum laude graduate with a BFA in Mass Media from Valdosta State University. Jaelyn is an enthusiastic creator with more than four years of experience in corporate communications, editing, broadcasting, and writing. Her articles in The Spectator, her hometown newspaper, changed how people perceive virtual reality. She connects her readers to the facts while providing them a voice to understand the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the digital world.

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