When driverless cars are attacked, who’s the target?

t is tough to drive in San Francisco — a place with winding, narrow streets, brutal traffic and constant streams of pedestrians. For self-driving cars, there’s apparently another obstacle: people trying to set you on fire.

On Saturday night, an unoccupied Waymo robotaxi was set ablaze in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood. Waymo is owned by Google…

Is it rage against the machine or contempt for the tech bros? Phil Koopman, electrical and computer engineering, on the acts of vandalism targeting robotaxis in San Francisco and other cities. He points to public frustration with incidents of robotaxis blocking emergency vehicles or causing accidents. “The companies could have handled that a lot better, but they didn’t. They could have put people back in the cars till they got it together and stop making those kinds of messes. They chose not to.”

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