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San Francisco’s Chinatown was the site of an extreme act of vandalism last night, marking a new chapter in the already strained relationship between the city and automated vehicle companies. At around 9pm (local time), an individual jumped onto the hood of a Waymo driverless taxi and smashed its windshield, generating spontaneous applause among those present. However, the situation quickly escalated as a crowd gathered around the vehicle, covering it in graffiti, breaking windows and eventually setting it on fire. Despite the timely intervention of firefighters who arrived a few minutes later, the flames had already engulfed the car completely.

The causes behind this act of vandalism remain unclear at this time. Sandy Karp, a spokesperson for Waymo, stated that the fully autonomous car was not carrying any passengers at the time of the attack. Meanwhile, San Francisco Police Department public information officer Robert Rueca confirmed that law enforcement responded to the scene at approximately 8:50 p.m., finding the car already ablaze with no reports of injuries.

A video posted by YouTube channel FriscoLive415 shows the charred wreckage of Waymo’s electric Jaguar taxi, serving as a symbol of growing tension between San Francisco residents and operators of automated vehicles. The suspension of operations of rival robotaxi Cruise by California Department Motor Vehicles following an accident last year in which one of its vehicles hit and dragged a pedestrian has fueled further debate on safety and appropriateness of these services in urban life.

The opposition from city officials and some residents to 24/7 operation of these cars is also evident through symbolic gestures such as placing orange cones on top of vehicles’ hoods. This incident fits into a broader context where technology companies face challenges when deploying their devices in public spaces; historical precedents include destruction shared bicycles and episodes violence against electric vehicles and scooters have set stage for this event to happen.

In conclusion, this extreme act

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