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The Robo-Wars Have Begun: Man Attacks Self-Driving Car

By: Bridget Clerkin January 22, 2018
An autonomous Chevrolet Bolt was attacked on Jan. 2 by a man in San Francisco's Mission District for reasons that remain unclear to authorities.

When famous science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov envisioned the shared future of man and machinery, they often posited that the robots would be first to strike, leading to years of dystopia, with flesh-and-blood creatures at the mercy of cyborgs.

But in 2018, the future is now, and as it turns out, man shot first.

An unidentified man attacked a self-driving car cruising through San Francisco’s city streets on Jan. 2, marking the opening salvo in the fight between organic persons and their artificially intelligent peers.

The attacker reportedly threw his entire body onto the car, a Chevrolet Bolt AV, which was stopped at a green light and waiting to make a right-hand turn while pedestrians cleared a crosswalk. Ignoring the “Do Not Walk” sign on his street corner, the attacker allegedly ran up to the vehicle screaming, and struck its rear left-side bumper and hatch.

The man did not suffer any injuries; however, the car did, including some damage to its right rear light, according to the accident report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. (The state requires any self-driving incident to be reported, regardless if police are called.)

It remains unclear what the attacker’s motives were, although countless polls have shown that Americans are scared of self-driving cars—including one AAA poll conducted last year finding 54% of U.S. drivers feel less safe sharing the road with the autonomous technology.

Still, not everyone is convinced the idea of robocars is a bad one. Former Waymo and Uber wunderkind Anthony Levandowski even recently started a church to welcome and praise the soon-to-be digital overlords.

Perhaps all the autonomous automobile attacker needs is a little new-time religion.

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