Google's sister firm Waymo is pulling its self-driving cars out of San Francisco in case violence erupts around the election

ReutersThree of the fleet of 600 Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid self-driving vehicles are parked and displayed during a demonstration in Chandler, Arizona
  • Waymo is pulling its self-driving cars from the streets of San Francisco in case election unrest ensues this week.
  • “Out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of our team in mind, we are temporarily suspending driving operations in San Francisco on 11/3 and 11/4,” a Waymo spokesperson told Business Insider in an email.
  • Waymo and other autonomous vehicle companies regularly use the streets of San Francisco as a testing ground for their units.
  • The company is one of many to take precautions around Election Day – retailers across the nation are boarding their storefronts in anticipation of election-related unrest.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Waymo is pulling its self-driving cars from the streets of San Francisco Tuesday and Wednesday in case unrest ensues in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

Waymo, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, is moving its fleet of autonomous vehicles from San Francisco to Mountain View and storing the units in a “secured location,” Waymo’s vendor Transdev told The Verge, which first reported the news. The vendor’s general manager, Chris Cheung, specifically said the move was made as a precaution ahead of “some of the planned protests” related to the election.

In a statement to Business Insider, a Waymo spokesperson said “out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of our team in mind, we are temporarily suspending driving operations in San Francisco on 11/3 and 11/4.” Its already established fleet in Mountain View will continue testing there.

Waymo, along with other self-driving car operators like Cruise, earlier paused its fleet operations when the COVID-19 pandemic first set in, suspending vehicles in Arizona and elsewhere,TechCrunch reported. Waymo sent its testing drivers back to work in May, and in early October, news surfaced that many felt unsafe working during the pandemic and as wildfires swept across California.


Read more:
5 self-driving-car companies primed to survive the wave of consolidation slamming the industry

Waymo isn’t the only firm taking precautions around the 2020 presidential election. Many retailers are boarding up storefronts and installing reinforced glass in preparation for potential civil unrest across the US following the election. Due to the pandemic and an influx of mail-in ballots, the election results may not be finalised until after November 3.

Retailers and some tech offices in San Francisco are preparing similarly — Salesforce Tower was one of many establishments seen with boarded-up windows ahead of Election Day, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.