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Google Self-Driving Car Pulled Over for Driving Too Slowly
Yesterday afternoon (Nov 12), a Mountain View (CA) 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. As the officer approached the slow moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle. The officer stopped the car – which had no driver, but there was a passenger in the vehicle in control of the vehicle. The officer asked how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operator about impeding traffic per 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code, which the operator may not have been familiar with. The Google 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. No citation was issued (after all - the vehicle had no driver!)
Later, in a post on Google’s own Self Driver Car Project twitter page, the company reported that “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. 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!?”
Photo by David E. Weekly, found on twitter.