Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars Being Vandalised in US

Critics of autonomous vehicles in Arizona have taken to physically attacking Waymo self-driving cars, just as the Google spin-off started its first fully driverless operations early December.

In the city of Chandler, Arizona, residents who say they fear for their safety have gone on the attack against driverless vehicles more than twenty times, according to a report from the New York Times. Chandler police confirmed the information to ABC15 on Tuesday.

Incidents have included a resident waving a hand gun at a passing Waymo auto, being run off the road, tyre slashing, being assaulted with rocks, and verbal abuse.

The New York Times said one man was warned by police after he repeatedly tried to run Waymo vehicles off the road "In one case, driving head-on toward one of the self-driving vehicles until it was forced to come to an abrupt stop", the New York Times says the man is accused of doing.

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"We report incidents we deem to pose a danger and we have provided photos and videos to local law enforcement when reporting these acts of vandalism or assault".

Police reports seen by the Arizona Republic show Roy Leonard Haselton, a 69-year old man, was arrested in August 2018 and had his 0.22-calibre gun confiscated. In a police report, detectives "stated that [Haselton] despises and hates those cars (Waymo) and said how Uber had killed someone". "Over the past two years, we've found Arizonans to be welcoming and excited by the potential of this technology to make our roads safer".

The deadly crash in which one of Uber's autonomous vehicles was involved occurred in Tempe in March of past year. While the crash was arguably the most high-profile incident involving self-driving vehicles, Waymo has also been involved in its own traffic accidents. According to the report, this occurred after the individual "inadvertently turned off the self-driving auto software by touching the gas pedal, and then failed to take over the wheel".

Some 21 attacks have been directed toward Waymo in Chandler, with a possibility that not all hostility has been reported to the authorities, and that more unrest will follow. "This is about a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch".

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