Google’s self-driving car prototype was recently pulled over by a US police officer. The crime: driving too slow.
There’s been much debate in the media about how safe automated vehicles truly are at this point. The ‘not very’ brigade would appear to have been strengthened by news that Google’s self-driving prototype was recently collared by a traffic cop.
Except for the fact that attention has been drawn to the above image by Google itself. David E. Weekly heads up Google’s rapid rollout lab, and it’s his tweet of the above picture that has been making the news.
Shortly following this tweet, Google took to Google+ to provide a little humour-inflected context. It turns out that the self-driving prototype was driving at its maximum speed of 25mph, which was unduly slow according to this enforcement official.
“We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25mph for safety reasons,” explains Google. “We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighbourhood streets.”
It seems Google is treating this reprimand as a light-hearted publicity opportunity rather than a slap on the wrist. “Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project,” the post 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!”