Waymo to temporarily suspend driving operations in San Francisco amid U.S. election

FILE PHOTO: Three of the fleet of 600 Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid self-driving vehicles are parked and diaplayed during a demonstration in Chandler, Arizona
FILE PHOTO: Three of the fleet of 600 Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid self-driving vehicles are parked and displayed during a demonstration in Chandler, Arizona, November 29, 2018. REUTERS/Caitlin O’Hara/File Photo/File Photo

November 4, 2020

(Reuters) – Self-driving tech company Waymo is temporarily suspending driving operations in San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday for safety reasons amid the ongoing U.S. elections, the company 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,” a spokeswoman for Waymo, a unit of Alphabet Inc’s, said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

The Verge news website reported earlier today that Waymo was moving its fleet to Mountain View, where it will be parked in a “secured location.” It cited an email from Transdev, Waymo’s fleet operations vendor.

The decision was made “out of an abundance of caution ahead of some of the planned protests around the general election,” Chris Cheung, general manager at Transdev North America, wrote in the email.

Business owners in some cities had feared that civil unrest could break out, especially if the election’s outcome were delayed. Tensions had flared around the country in the run-up to Election Day.

Separately, self-driving car maker Cruise said that everyone at the company including drivers, were given off on Election Day to vote.

(Reporting by Juby Babu and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis)