A video has gone viral showing a self-driving car being stopped by police and then trying to get away from it over the weekend.
San Francisco police have stopped one of their Cruze electric Chevrolet Bolt autonomous cars, likely because the car’s headlights weren’t turned on despite nightfall.
In the video, which was first posted to Instagram on April 2, an officer can be heard saying “there’s no one in it”.
But a few seconds later, after the officer had returned to his police car, the autonomous vehicle – perhaps deciding to stop traffic – attempted to drive away before coming to a stop a few hundred meters away.
Cruz says the car wasn’t trying to run for it. The company said the car initially surrendered to the police vehicle, then stopped at a safe place to effectively bring traffic to a halt.
A police officer called Cruise to report the situation, and the self-driving car didn’t get a ticket. Cruz says it fixed everything that caused the car to drive without its headlights at night.
This is not the first time that a self-driving car has been stopped by police. Back in 2015, when it was still just a Google Self-Driving Car Project and not Waymo, Google’s self-driving car was pulled over in Mountain View, California, for traveling 24 mph (39 km/h) at 35 mph. (56 km/h) area.
On that occasion, no ticket was issued, as the officer determined that no law had been broken.
In 2019, a police officer in Providence, Rhode Island, stopped one of May Mobility’s low-speed, self-driving shuttle buses. Six-person buses run in a 12-station civilian loop to and from the train station, but on the first day of operations, one of them was stopped by an officer who was unfamiliar with the vehicle. There are no fees generated from this interaction either.
Also in 2019, a driverless Tesla was grounded after its owner used a remote car recall in Florida.
However, in this case, the incident was orchestrated by a YouTuber.
Autonomous vehicle developers such as Cruise and Waymo have prepared guides for first responders on how to interact with vehicles in an emergency.