Cop pulls over Google self-driving car, finds no driver to ticket

Posted at 7:51 AM, Nov 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-13 12:10:23-05

No driver? No ticket.

That, at least, was the result when a police officer pulled over one of Google’s self-driving cars Thursday in Mountain View, California.

The car wasn’t speeding. On the contrary, it was driving too slowly — 24 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone, according to the Mountain View Police Department — with traffic apparently backing up behind it.

“As the officer approached the slow moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle,” a police department post said.

Which is to say that no one was driving the darn thing.

There was, however, a passenger. So the officer asked the passenger how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways.

He also took the opportunity to inform the passenger about 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code, which related to impeding traffic — a section of the law the self-driving car may have been unfamiliar with.

An unblemished record

In a Google Plus post, the Google Self-Driving Car Project pled guilty to slow driving.

“We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 mph for safety reasons,” the post said. “We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets.”

In the end, the officer determined the car had broken no law. No harm, no foul.

And no ticket was issued — not because there was no driver to whom to issue it but because the car had committed no violation.

For its part, the Google Self-Driving Car Project seemed proud of the whole affair.

“Driving too slowly? Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often,” the post said.

And the cars’ unblemished record continues.

“After 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving (that’s the human equivalent of 90 years of driving experience), we’re proud to say we’ve never been ticketed!” the car project posted.