Cop pulls over Google self-driving car, finds no driver to ticket

Photo: Zandr Milewski

A police officer pulled over a Google self-driving car yesterday because it was going only 24 miles per hour in a 35 mph zone. But the car had no driver, so he could not issue a ticket. The officer asked the human passenger why the car decided to drive so slowly.

From CNN:

In a Google Plus post, the Google Self-Driving Car Project pled guilty to slow driving.

"We've capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 mph for safety reasons," the post said. "We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets."

In the end, the officer determined the car had broken no law. No harm, no foul.

And no ticket was issued -- not because there was no driver to whom to issue it but because the car had committed no violation.

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Network neutrality for self-driving cars

David Weinberger's Would a Google car sacrifice you for the sake of the many? explores many philosophical conundra regarding self-driving cars, including the possibility that the rich and powerful might literally buy their way into the fast-lane. This is the premise of my 2005 story "Human Readable," which appears in my collection With a Little Help (there's also a spectacular audio edition, read by Spider Robinson). Read the rest