On Thursday November 12, 2015 in Mountain View, Calif. a police officer stopped a driverless Google car on the side of the road because it was driving too slowly. It was traveling at a speed of 24 mph in a 35 mph zone. No fine was issued or crime recorded because the car did not break any laws by driving too slow. BBC reported the following:
“In a post on Google+, the net giant joked: ‘Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often.’
An accident report recently filed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles described a Google automated car as ‘over-cautious’.
In a blogpost about this week’s incident, the Mountain View police department said an officer ‘noticed traffic backing up behind a slow-moving car in the eastbound lane’.
‘The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how it was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic,’ it added….
…In its own post about the incident, Google said: ‘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 neighbourhood streets.’ “
This may be the first time police have pulled over a Google car. So far, Google car has not had any accidents except those caused by human drivers. David Flavelle from The Star reported the following:
“As of July 2015, Google’s 23 autonomous cars had been involved in 14 minor accidents, but none occurred when the vehicles were in self-driving mode.
In most cases, the Google cars were rear-ended by vehicles driven by people who misjudged how the slow-moving, rule-obeying Google vehicle would behave at an intersection.”
Testing of these cars has been ongoing for a while in America. Soon Canada will begin testing of Google cars as well. The Star reported the following:
“Ontario drivers could soon find themselves stuck behind slow-moving self-driving cars after Jan. 1, 2016 when the province becomes the first in Canada to allow autonomous vehicles to be tested on public roadways….
…..Ontario’s decision in October to allow self-driving cars on public roads is intended to give Canadian business a big boost in the global race for a stake in this future market…..
….Ontario’s ministry of transportation said applications for its Automated Vehicle Pilot program would be available online at the end of November.”
Technology changes so quickly; it may seem silly now, but in the near future human driving may become rare, and a drivers license could become a thing that few apply for. Few will need it when autonomous cars do the driving instead.