Innovation

Google’s Self-Driving Car Pulled Over By Police

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Smart vehicle stopped in Mountain View…for driving too slowly on roads near Google headquarters

One of Google’s self-driving autonomous vehicles has been stopped by police in California following complaints about its driving speeds.

The car was pulled over by an officer close to Google’s Mountain View headquarters after they noticed it was driving too slowly (pictured below).

The vehicle was apparently recorded at travelling at 24mph in a 35mph zone, close to its possible top speed of 25mph.

Slow and steady

google-self-driving-car-stopped-police“As the officer approached the slow moving car he realised it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle,” the Mountain View Police Department report said. “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.”

Google unleashed its cars on public roads in California earlier this year as it looks to ramp up development on the vehicles, and holds regular consultations with the Mountain View Police Department to ensure the vehicles operate safely.

According to Google, its car comes with an onboard screen to display the route and boasts a top speed of 25mph (40km/h) thanks to an onboard electric motor. It is also equipped with an array of sensors mounted on the roof to allow the car’s computer to determine its location and surroundings.

The sensors can also apparently “see” several hundred metres ahead, and even 360 degrees around its location to remove any blind spots.

The company revealed earlier this year that its prototype vehicles were involved in 11 accidents over the last six years of testing – however, all of these were the result of errors by other (human) drivers.

This comes with the testing team having travelled over 1.7 million miles in a fleet of more than 20 vehicles, Google project manager Chris Urmson revealed, saying that the consequences of the 11 accidents were only ‘light damage, no injuries’.

“If you spend enough time on the road, accidents will happen whether you’re in a car or a self-driving car,” he added.

The new level of testing will allow Google to “uncover challenges that are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle,” including stopping distances if needing to slow down in an emergency, but will also help locals become acclimatised to the vehicles.

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