Waymo, the self-driving company of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has suspended its self-driving operations in San Francisco as businesses and cities brace for potential unrest following the presidential election.
Waymo moved its San Francisco vehicles to neighboring Mountain View Monday night out of an abundance of caution and with the safety of its team in mind, according to a spokeswoman. The company says it will continue its operations in suburban Chandler, Arizona, where it operates a ride-hailing service.
The Waymo news was first reported by The Verge.
How Americans get around cities could be dramatically different this week as cities and businesses are locking down assets and preparing to halt transportation services if unrest emerges, citing safety concerns.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said recently that she was prepared to shut down transit service in the city, if necessary.
“If there’s a reason for us to take those extreme measures, I’m not going to hesitate to do that,” Lightfoot said.
Cruise, the self-driving arm of GM, told CNN Business that it has “turnkey plans in place” to ground its fleet in San Francisco and take whatever steps are necessary to protect its team members, though it declined to provide any details.
Portland, Oregon’s government will be using geofencing technology tonight to prohibit people from starting a bikeshare or scooter-sharing trip in the part of downtown where there’s been protest activity in recent months. Bikes and scooters will also be removed from a limited area of downtown, according to a spokesman.
Capital Bikeshare, Washington’s DC’s bikshare that Lyft operates, will temporarily pause bikeshare operations around the White House from 8 pm tonight until 4 am Thursday, according to a Lyft spokeswoman. An eight-foot fence has been installed around the White House.
Seattle, Washington’s transportation department has been working with scooter and bike sharing companies in the city to be ready to remove their vehicles, should it be necessary, according to a department spokesperson.
Spin, a scooter company owned by Ford that operates in over 60 US cities, told CNN Business that its service is continuing as normal as it tries to help people get to the polls, but it’s preparing for instances of unrest. Lime, the world’s biggest scooter-sharing company, said that it’s planning to operate as normal this week unless instructed by cities.
The changes are part of broader moves by local governments and businesses to prepare for potential fallout from the presidential election.