Home » A Mob Just Vandalized A Waymo Self-Driving Car And Set It On Fire. The Videos Are Nuts

A Mob Just Vandalized A Waymo Self-Driving Car And Set It On Fire. The Videos Are Nuts

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What in the actual hell is happening right now in San Francisco’s Chinatown? Why did a mob decide to screw around with a Waymo self-driving car and then set the poor Jaguar I-Pace electric car on fire? I talked with two witnesses and gathered some wild footage. Here’s what I know.

This is breaking news, so bear with me here, but what I have so far is this statement from Waymo about what went down tonight:

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At approximately 9 PM on Saturday, February 10th, a fully autonomous Waymo vehicle was navigating on Jackson Street in San Francisco when a crowd surrounded and vandalized the vehicle, breaking the window and throwing a firework inside, which set the vehicle on fire. 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.

Here’s some of the footage popping up on X, formerly known as Twitter. The wildest shots have been posted by Michael Vandi, a software engineer and founder of Addy AI (an AI email assistant), per his social media profile descriptions. Here is his rather shocking footage:

When asked for a synopsis of what he saw, Vandi told me the following over Twitter:

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So there were fireworks happening- pretty fun night and folks watching the fireworks. Every now and then traffic would build up and the crowd would make way for it to clear.

There was a small traffic holdup with waymo at the front of it. Then someone in a white hoodie jumped on the hood of the car and literally WWE styel K/O’d the windshield & broke it.

The crowd was shocked. People started paying attention and gathered around. Nothing happened for another 30 seconds until someone else jumped on the hood.

Then a group of people joined in affirming the behavior w/ positive feedback. Clapping etc.

That was when it went WILD. People with skateboards breaking the glass, and others graffitiing the car.

There were 2 groups of people. Folks who encourage it – and others who were just shocked & started filming. No one stood up – i mean there wasn’t anything you could do to stand up to dozens of people.

This went on for like 5 minutes. By this time, a pretty heavy traffic had built up behind the waymo and other cars started finding alternative alleyways to escape.

Then someone with fireworks initially lit it under the car -nothing happened but it was loud enough to disperse the crow including me who didn’t want to be near it anymore and you can see the 3rd and 4th videos were taken from 1/2 a block away zoomed in.

I’m not sure what happened next but it’s my understanding that fireworks was lit (now inside the car) then there was smoke for about 30 seconds before full on flames started.

Flames carried on for a bit say 3 – 4 minutes before SFFD pulled up.

I left the scene once I heard the SFFD sirens

[…]

Also someone shouted “light that shit on fire” that’s what prompted the fireworks i think. But i should point out – it took about 2 minutes from when the person said that before the car was set on fire

There’s also this video posted by @_nathanmarquez_:

But the most shocking footage in my eyes is that which shows the aftermath: A completely destroyed Jaguar I-Pace self-driving car — look at all that melted aluminum shown in this video, courtesy of FriscoLive415 (who also has a YouTube channel):

Franky Francisco with FriscoLive415 shot the footage above; he broke down what he saw on Saturday night, writing me in a Twitter DM:

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For the record, here’s what that car should look like — I took this photo just before I was driven around in a Waymo self-driving car; I loved the experience, as you can read here:

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I’ve reached out to the local fire department to learn more beyond the organization’s post on Twitter:

The San Francisco Fire Department’s tweet states: “Waymo Vehicle surrounded and then graffiti’d, windows were broken, and firework lit on fire inside the vehicle which ultimately caught the entire vehicle on fire.”

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It’s not clear who exactly attacked this Waymo in Chinatown on the Lunar New Year, or what their motivation was, but hopefully we’ll learn more before the weekend is over.

This story is breaking news and will be updated as more information arises.

Topshot: FriscoLive415/Twitter (screenshot)

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Ron888
Ron888
10 days ago

Well this is just great.
Someone finally gives a slow driver what they deserve,and it turns out to be a stupid robot.What an anti climax

AlterId
AlterId
11 days ago

Damn, y’all – 176 178 comments posted before this one. This really drove some reader engagement. Y’all need to get a mob to beat an autonomous car to death every week. Gotta be easier than finding a hit-and-run mystery to solve.

Last edited 11 days ago by AlterId
Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
11 days ago

Sounds like there’s Big Trouble in Little China.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
11 days ago

Stop. Making. The Robots. Angry.

Matt Butler
Matt Butler
11 days ago

What in the actual hell is happening right now in San Francisco’s Chinatown?
Easy; San Francisco & California.

Mike F.
Mike F.
11 days ago
Reply to  Matt Butler

Don’t believe everything you read in highly slanted news sites with political agendas. I’ve been to SF five or six times in the last six months and have had a great time. Very few homeless, no human feces on the streets, and that’s in a variety of neighborhoods. I haven’t been in the Tenderloin or Mission districts which are no doubt drug infested hellholes, but they’ve always been bad parts of town that one would avoid if at all possible. This kind of mob shit happens in all kinds of places for all kinds of reasons and is rare in SF. How many other towns have had riots when their sports teams won a championship? Doesn’t happen in SF (although we’ll never know for sure regarding the current 49ers).

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
10 days ago
Reply to  Mike F.

The Tenderloin went from shithole to hellscape since the pandemic. It’s really sad.

Matt Butler
Matt Butler
10 days ago
Reply to  Mike F.

I’m not believing the slant, I’ve seen it. It’s not like SF was a utopia before hand. I was last in SF over a decade ago and the homeless were a significant presence. We were staying in the financial district and I remember seeing homeless sleeping at entrances of Saks Fifth Avenue, among other places. We were tourists at the time and surprised at the amount we saw. I was also just in San Diego and Anaheim 2 years ago and the homeless/drug problem was incredibly easy to observe. We could see encampments up in the hills above our hotel. I’ve also been up in Northern Cali around Mount Shasta, Eureka, etc and it’s like a different world compared to Southern Cali.

I’ve also got family in Applewood that would love to move out of Cali if the could find a way to make it work.

Last edited 10 days ago by Matt Butler
Mike F.
Mike F.
10 days ago
Reply to  Matt Butler

I guess if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. I’ll just say that I’ve been in quite a few large cities around the country the last few years and I’ve seen a significant homeless presence in all of them. LA has what amounts to an entire homeless district. The areas I’ve been in around SF – Union Square, the wharf, North Beach, the Fillmore, etc. have very few.

Here4thecars
Here4thecars
11 days ago

Our own beloved Torch predicted this sort of behavior in his book, “Robot Take The Wheel”. Maybe you should start an occasional feature, something like “This week in robot atrocities”.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
10 days ago
Reply to  Here4thecars

Well, they did… Torch that car.

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