Waymo Driverless Robotaxi Attacked, Set on Fire in San Francisco

The self-driving Jaguar I-PACE, which was not carrying any passengers, was reportedly at the front of a small traffic holdup.

The San Francisco Fire Department posted this photo to X of the Waymo vehicle after it was extinguished.

A Waymo self-driving Jaguar I-PACE robotaxi was set ablaze and vandalized by a crowd Feb. 10 in San Francisco's Chinatown area.

Michael Vandi, a software engineer in the area when the incident happened, described the sequence of events that led to the crowd attacking the Jaguar I-PACE and setting it on fire. Per The Autopian, there was a small traffic holdup with a Waymo in front of it. This reportedly resulted in a person jumping onto the hood of the car and breaking the vehicle’s windshield.

Another person reportedly jumped on the hood of the self-driving vehicle, which prompted cheers from other people. Others soon broke the I-PACE’s glass and vandalized the vehicle. Things escalated further when fireworks were lit under and inside the car, setting the vehicle on fire.

Franky Francisco with FriscoLive415, which has shared footage of the event, described his observations during the event’s aftermath. Francisco said the Jaguar I-PACE’s battery seemed to have reignited multiple times as the vehicle burned.

“When I arrived on the scene, SFFD was already on scene hosing down the car with water and their chemical extinguishers. The battery appeared to be reigniting multiple times and was smoking like crazy. The live footage I did on X gives a decent idea of how I came onto the scene, which was after the attack on the vehicle. The vehicle looked completely ‘decapitated’ and I have never seen a vehicle that damaged up close,” he said.

Waymo has issued a short statement about the incident: “At approximately 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, 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."

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