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People in Arizona Are Attacking Self-Driving Cars with Rocks and Knives

Many people can't wait for the day when self-driving cars are available so they can just get in their car, take a nap and wake up once they get to work or wherever they're going. But apparently some people in Arizona are really not happy with the impending future.

The New York Times recently published a story about attacks on self-driving cars in Chandler, Arizona. Waymo, the Google-owned company making self-driving cars, began testing their inventions in Chandler back in 2017. Since then, more than two dozen attacks have been reported on self-driving cars. They range from people using knives to slash the cars' tires to people throwing rocks to people trying to force the cars off the road.

Unfortunately, not all of these attacks are victimless. The self-driving cars often have emergency drivers in them, meaning humans who can take over the wheel if the car starts doing something that it's not supposed to. The emergency drivers are often faced with threats from the Arizonans, including one incident where a man waved his gun towards the self-driving car.

There's a debate about whether the attacks are justified. One media theorist interviewed by the Times said it was a similar response as people who react angrily towards "scab" workers who continue going to work during union strikes and similar incidents. People are attacking the cars because they see them as potentially threatening their way of life.

Others claim it's because they view self-driving cars as dangerous. One couple interviewed in the story said they attack the cars because their child was almost hit by one. And in Tempe, Arizona a woman was actually killed by a self-driving car, although it was not a car designed by Waymo, the company testing cars in Chandler.

Waymo so far has not attempted to prosecute cases where self-driving cars are attacked, but they are worried that they could escalate and lead to actually bodily harm to their emergency drivers.

So don't be surprised if you hear self-driving cars are adding new tazer defense features in the future.

(h/t New York Times)


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