When a cop pulls over a self-driving car for a traffic violation, who do they give the ticket to? That’s a problem that a Mountain View police officer encountered earlier this week when he pulled over one of the self-driving Google cars that are currently being tested in the city. One of the legal requirements for the cars being tested is that they drive slowly, but the problem is, this particular car was driving too slowly, and was causing traffic backup. Fortunately, there were two operators inside the vehicle who talked things over with the officer, and no ticker was given.
Police in the Northern California city of Mountain View saw something unusual on the road on Thursday: A car was moving too slowly, causing a traffic backlog. So they pulled over the vehicle and peered inside. It was a self-driving car. Google’s autonomous vehicle project, which has logged 1.2 million miles, was nearly handed its first traffic ticket on Thursday when police officers stopped one of the cars because it was going 24 miles per hour in a 35 m.p.h. zone. “The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic,” a police statement said. Under the California Vehicle Code, the cars are permitted to operate on streets that have a speed limit of 35 m.p.h. or slower, the police said. So no ticket was issued. The car technically had no driver, but there are usually two operators in the Google cars capable of taking over if needed, and that was the case this time, the police official in charge of the traffic team, Sgt. Saul Jaeger, said in a telephone interview.