What happens when a driverless car gets pulled over by the police?
In an Instagram video originally posted April 1, a driverless Cruise car — apparently driving at night without its headlights on — is seen getting pulled over by San Francisco police. As a police officer approaches the driver’s side, he notices… no driver.
As the befuddled officer walks back to his car, the Cruise starts back up and crosses an intersection, before stopping again in front of a restaurant on Clement Street, in the city’s Richmond District. The police car follows, and officers get out and inspect the unoccupied vehicle in more detail, before one makes a call — apparently to Cruise.
“Are you serious? How does that happen?” one bystander is heard saying.
The video was tweeted Saturday by tech journalist Seth Weintraub, which prompted a response Sunday by Cruise — the autonomous-vehicle company that is majority-owned by General Motors Co. GM, +1.63% — which said the car acted properly.
“Our AV yielded to the police vehicle, then pulled over to the nearest safe location for the traffic stop, as intended. An officer contacted Cruise personnel and no citation was issued,” the company tweeted, adding that “We work closely with the SFPD on how to interact with our vehicles, including a dedicated phone number for them to call in situations like this.”
The odd interaction will likely become a more common one, in San Francisco at least.
Earlier this year, Cruise gained regulatory approval to begin its fully driverless, free robotaxi service in certain parts of San Francisco. Alphabet’s GOOGL, -1.91% Waymo has also begun offering fully driverless rides in San Francisco, though only for Waymo employees for the time being.