Police in San Francisco pulled over a car to speak to the driver only to find it had nobody inside. It turned out to be a test vehicle for a driverless ride service.
The officers stopped the car because it was driving without headlights. As it appeared to comply with their request to pull over, they were surprised to find it empty, much to the amusement of onlookers.
It was a vehicle from Cruise, a company that currently uses driverless cars to deliver food, but is running a test program to carry passengers.
The company says the lack of headlights was down to human error and that the vehicle pulled over to the nearest location as designed. While it’s not clear if this is what happened in this case, the vehicles are programmed to detect lights and sirens from police vehicles and then find the nearest safe place to start.
It appears police spoke remotely to the company in this case and then left without issuing a citation. Cruise says its human staff can control the car to comply with traffic stop requests such as unlocking it for a search or ensuring it says stationary safely.
Welcome to the future. Cop pulls over driverless car (because no lights?) Then Cruise goes on the lamb. (via https://t.co/mtmsIeOAUP) pic.twitter.com/ecQ5xXuSnS
— Seth Weintraub (@llsethj) April 10, 2022