Google’s self-driving cars are very, very polite — “They’re never the first off the line at a stop light, they don’t accelerate quickly, they don’t change lanes, and they don’t speed” — but since they don’t behave like those piloted by regular human drivers, that can be a problem for the non-Google cars on the road. Which is to say almost all of them.
Observing that, a police officer in Mountain View, California, pulled over one of the autonomous vehicles not far away from the Google campus for being too pokey. According to the Mountain View Police Department, “the officer stopped the car and made contact with the operator to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic.”
In a post on Google Plus, the driverless-car team poked fun at the incident: “Driving too slowly? Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often.”
The post goes on to say that engineers at Google have capped the speed of their prototype driverless cars at 25 mph for safety purposes (the reasoning behind this is very likely to be the same as the city’s rationale for lowering the speed limit in Manhattan last year).
Because the technology behind Google’s driverless cars is still experimental, they are registered in the same class as golf carts and allowed to go as slowly as they want on public roads. The car was let go with a stern, mildly confused warning and allowed to drive itself home.