Google’s self-driving car had a run in with the law on Thursday when it was pulled over for driving too slow in Mountain View, California.
“Driving too slowly? Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often,” Google said Thursday on its Self-Driving Car Project page.
Google has been taking the car for test drives in Mountain View.
The Mountain View Police Department said in a press release one of its officers stopped the driverless car Thursday afternoon.
“A Mountain View Police Department traffic officer noticed traffic backing up behind a slow moving car traveling in the eastbound #3 lane on El Camino Real, near Rengstorff Ave. The car was traveling at 24 mph in a 35 mph zone,” the press release said. “As the officer approached the slow moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle. 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.”
The department said Google’s self-driving cars operate under the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Definition per 385.5 of the California Vehicle Code and can only be operated on roadways with speed limits at or under 35 mph. In this case, it was lawful for the car to be traveling on the street as El Camino Real is rated at 35 mph.
The Mountain View department said it “meets regularly with Google to ensure that their vehicles operate safely in our community.”
In this case, police said an operator inside the vehicle took control and stopped for police. But the department has been working with Google to study how the cars could react to emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens on.
“We’ve actually conducted tests w/ Google, exposing the self driving cars to police cars, motorcycles, and fire apparatus with code 3 equipment running; all to help the computers learn how to react to emergency vehicles,” Mountain View police wrote on Facebook.
“We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25mph for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets,” Google said. “Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project. 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!”