Waymo Driverless Car Looks a Little Confused Getting Pulled Over by a Police Officer

The driverless vehicle didn’t initially know how to comply, which is an excuse I’m not able to use. Ever.

byAaron Cole|
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It’s widely accepted that driverless vehicles have a way to go before they can fully deliver on the promise of a future where mobility is effortless and universally accessible. One of those bugs? Pulling over to the side of the road for emergency vehicles or during traffic stops. The latest instance of a driverless vehicle behaving badly was shared on TikTok and featured a Waymo Jaguar I-Pace.

TikTok user johnnyromano3 uploaded a video of a Waymo vehicle struggling to comply with directions from an officer moving the vehicle for a parade in Phoenix. The officer gestures to the car to pull over, although the wheel doesn’t immediately respond. The passengers can’t get the car to comply, and filming abruptly ends. In a subsequent video, the user said they threw the phone down and ran from the incident but weren’t ultimately charged for wrongdoing. 

@johnnyromano3

POV: youre in a self driving car and the police get involded

♬ original sound - Johnny Romano

A spokesperson for Waymo said the company was investigating the incident and “understanding other road user gestures is an important area we’ve made a lot of great progress over the years.

“In this particular case, the Waymo vehicle pulled to the side as desired, and then performed a multi-point turn and successfully maneuvered out of the blocked lane within 90 seconds after the interaction with the police officer,” the spokesperson added. 

Interactions with emergency vehicles have been tough for driverless cars. Police in San Francisco were spotted this month pulling over a Cruise self-driving vehicle for driving without headlights on, then expressing surprise when no one was found inside. The driverless company said officers could reach a remote driver to remedy the issue, and no citations were given for the infraction. That incident and the video above of the Waymo struggling to initially comply with instructions beg the question: What else can we blame on robots? I have a few parking tickets I’d like a robot-patsy to take on. 

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