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People are slashing tyres and throwing rocks at self-driving cars in Arizona

Vigilante citizens in a town in Arizona have slashed tyres, thrown rocks and even pointed guns at self-driving vehicles being tested in their neighbourhood, an investigation has revealed.

Police in Chandler recorded 21 incidents over the past two years in which the autonomous vehicles and their test drivers were targeted by local residents.

One incident on 24 October saw a man emerge from a park and slash the tyres of a Waymo vehicle stopped at an intersection. Earlier this year a Waymo test driver reported a man in shorts aiming a gun at his car when it passed the man’s driveway.

Police reports also show that rocks were thrown at Waymo’s fleet on at least four separate occasions, according to The Arizona Republic, while other incidents include people yelling at the vehicles, chasing them and forcing them off the road.

Many other incidents may have gone unreported, the newspaper suggested, with Waymo reportedly keen to minimise police interaction.

The underlying motivation behind such harassment appears to be frustration with Waymo’s parent company Alphabet, combined with fears the technology poses a threat to both jobs and road safety.

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