On Thursday, a question was asked that had never been asked before in California: if a self-driving car is stopped by police for an infraction, who gets the ticket–the driver or the car?
In Mountain View, California, a police officer saw traffic backing up in the eastbound lane of El Camino Real, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Investigating, he found a Google Autonomous Vehicle driving 24 mph in a 35 mph zone.
The blog from the Mountain View Police Department stated, “The officer stopped the car, and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic.”
The Google Self-Driving Car Project responded in a post online, laughing:
Driving too slowly? Bet humans don’t get pulled over for that too often. We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 mph 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!