Mob attacks driverless car in San Francisco

Vandals have targeted a driverless taxi in San Francisco, smashing its windows, covering it with paint and setting it on fire.

Fireworks were also set off inside the car during the incident on Saturday afternoon, The Autopian reported, although there were no passengers at the time.

The vehicle involved was owned and operated by Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google's parent company Alphabet.

Footage of the incident was captured by Frisco Live 415 and posted to YouTube, along with a video showing firefighters dealing with the aftermath.

A Waymo spokesperson confirmed that one of its vehicles had been targeted and said it was working with local security officials to respond to the situation.

“Around 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, a fully autonomous Waymo vehicle was cruising down 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 spokesman said.

“The vehicle was carrying no passengers and no injuries have been reported.”

The vandalism comes amid growing frustration with driverless cars in San Francisco, which is one of only two US cities to allow their use on public roads.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has already banned rival Waymo Cruise from operating robotically, while city officials have accused the technology of impeding emergency vehicles and causing traffic.

Earlier this month, a self-driving car collided with a cyclist after it reportedly failed to spot him behind a truck at a four-way intersection.

“The cyclist was blocked by the truck and quickly followed behind it, crossing into the path of the Waymo vehicle,” a Waymo spokesperson said at the time.

Police and regulators in California are currently investigating the accident, which left the cyclist with minor injuries. It was the ninth vehicle-to-autonomous vehicle crash in California this year, according to DMV records.

A pair of Super Bowl ads on Sunday also railed against the technology, calling for a boycott of Tesla for allegedly selling “flawed self-driving software.”

The electric car maker recalled about 2 million vehicles last year after a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that there was a flaw in Tesla's Autopilot function.