Just when I thought I saw everything.
We have all heard or read a story of a selfish person who took off on officers during a traffic stop for whatever reason, but I have never heard about a self-driving car taking off on Police before. Have you?
The interaction shown on the video looks like an all so normal traffic stop as the officer gets out to conduct business with the driver of the car, that is until the Officer notices that there is no one in the car at all.
"Ain't nobody in it," the officer said.
The whole interaction was caught on film by a man named Brandon Melim. In the video you can hear him say that he was "super surprised because one, I'd never seen one of those cars actually drive autonomously."
As seen in the video, cops pulled over the Cruise vehicle that was unmanned because it was driving around the City without headlights on.
When the officer takes a glance in the driver's side window to make contact with the driver, and once he notices no one is in the car and goes to returns to his cruiser, the vehicle pulls away from the traffic stop before being let go. The car is seen going through an intersection just ahead from where it was stopped and again pulled over to the side of the road and activated it's Emergency 4-way lights.
Cruise said in a statement that it was because the vehicle was moving to a safer location. If you ask me though, the location the car choose to stop after taking off the first time was not any safer than where the traffic stop first took place.
This may be a new challenge that Officers across the nation may have to face as President Biden plans to have half of new car sales to be electric and emission free by 2027.
Cruise, the Francisco-based company that is focused on making these self-driving cars said the headlight issue was a because of human error.
Cruise tweeted: "Our AV yielded to the police vehicle, then pulled over to the nearest safe location, as intended. An officer contacted Cruise personnel and no citation was issued."
Despite what Cruise is saying in their reports, experts who have seen the video think the confusion displayed in the video calls for better protocols.
"Clearly the police were confused they didn’t know what to do," said Stanford University professor Ronjon Nag. "We need to have processes and protocols and standards where cars can communicate. Maybe there's a switch where the cars can be stopped by the police."
Cruise is a company owned by General Motors, they are focused on creating and developing self-driving technology.
Cruise has uploaded a video to YouTube that teaches law-enforcement and other "first responders", how to interact with their AVs.
The YouTube video is descriptive and tells you that the cars have microphones that can identify and detect lights and sirens of Emergency vehicles so the vehicle can pull over safely".
The YouTube video also goes on to explain that officers should call their phone number to reach the company's "escalation team" before conducting a traffic stop on their vehicles.
"For example, the escalation team can do a number of tasks remotely, including unlocking the vehicle and ensuring that the vehicle remains in a safe stationary position said the company."
Gear Head has reached out to Cruise to see if we could get some more information on this story and the on the safety features of their vehicles, but we have yet to hear anything back from them yet. We will do a Safety and Features article on them once we do.
This article was first on Gear Head on April 12, 2022.