Google self-driving car pulled over for 'driving too slowly' in Mountain View

Google self-driving car pulled over for 'driving too slowly' in Mountain View
By Jason GreenDaily News Staff Writer

POSTED:   11/12/2015 07:54:33 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW -- When one of Google's self-driving vehicles is pulled over, who gets the ticket? The passenger or the car?

The question was asked across the Internet on Thursday, after a police officer stopped one of the gumball-machine-shaped vehicles on El Camino Real.

In a blog post, the Mountain View Police Department said the officer noticed traffic backing up behind a slow-moving car in the eastbound No. 3 lane, near Rengstorff Avenue.

The vehicle was traveling at 24 mph in a 35 mph zone.

"As the officer approached the slow-moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle," the post said.

"The officer stopped the car," the post continued, "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."

In a Google Plus post, the Google Self-Driving Car Project appeared to appreciate the humor of the situation.

"Driving too slowly?" the post asked. "Bet humans don't get pulled over for that too often."

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

As it turns out, the cars are considered "neighborhood electric vehicles" under the California Vehicle Code, and can be operated on roadways with speed limits at or under 35 mph, according to the police department's blog post.

"In this case," the post continued, "it was lawful for the car to be traveling on the street, as El Camino Real is rated at 35 mph."

So, no ticket, and the question of who would get it remains unanswered.

"Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project," the Google Self-Driving Car Project said in its post. "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!"

Zandr Milewski photographed the car stop from an office building at 5150 El Camino Real in Los Altos. He was working on a project in a conference room when a colleague wandered in with news of what was transpiring outside.

"We all immediately dropped what we were doing to go look," Milewski said. "It's not something you see every day."


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