An autonomous shuttle was pulled over by a police officer only a few hours after it had started service.
Rhode Island recently began piloting a program for a self-driving vehicle called “Little Roady”. The car provides shuttle services for up to five passengers.
The program had just begun when an officer pulled the car over, curious about the vehicle.
..lol...no no no...they said Cop didn't know RI had them..— Colleen Casey~ Ranieri (@ColleenRanieri) May 17, 2019
Driverless cars with a passenger in the front?? Lazy or just a stupid toy. Come on people!— Parker Atwood (@playingaviolin) May 17, 2019
If there was no attendant in the vehicle, would the vehicle know to pull over when an officer turns its lights on? Am I the only one that thinks self-driving vehicles are a bad idea? Honestly scares the hell out of me.— Doubletrouble (@TroyUselman) May 16, 2019
Rhode Island is testing out the service, currently offering free rides on a 12-stop loop. Each vehicle can hold six people, including an attendant that can take control in an emergency.
The program is operated by a Michigan-based company called May Mobility, who is working to figure out how to implement the autonomous driving in the community.
The rides are free while they work out kinks, such as getting the vehicle to make smooth left turns, avoiding pedestrians and motorists and even interacting with police officers who don’t know what they are.
“The officer was curious. That’s something we see and welcome.”
Alisyn Malek, May Mobility’s chief operating officer, added:
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to have the dialogue about who are we, why are we out on the street.”
Though you’d think a cop wouldn’t pull it over right away given the publicity for the program and its ties to local government.
This article is cute and all... but is anyone else bothered by the fact that a cop pulled a vehicle over because “he’d never seen it before”? That’s a terrible excuse for police to use their authority....— ????Justin???? (@j_lucchese83) May 16, 2019
also ' curiosity' is not a legal reason to pull a vehicle over! or is EVERYONE AN IDIOT— redsox588588 (@LEOAREFELONS) May 16, 2019
Pulling over vehicles because you’re “curious” is against the law.— MZB ???????? (@mbrekkie) May 15, 2019
So the Officer abused his power and wasted everyone's time! .."officer pulled over the odd-looking autonomous vehicle because he had never seen one before." THAT'S NOT A REASON! Self-driving vehicle pulled over by curious police officer https://t.co/lzMo3cu3Ub— Davepro (@Davepro7496) May 16, 2019
It’s also strange since the company has spent the last month taking the vehicle around the community to show it off, and ensure people knew what was happening. So how had the officer never heard of the vehicle?
May Mobility currently operates out of the cities of Detroit, Columbus and Providence. They are taking their time, ensuring the technology can work without interrupting the communities which they serve.
A driverless taxi program in Arizona is also being tested by another company called Waymo. Unlike May’s machines, the Waymo vehicles do not require an attendant to control the vehicle.
The officer who pulled over the vehicle had a cordial conversation with the attendant of the May vehicle and then let it go. No tickets or warnings were issued.
Which brings up the question, how would a driverless car pull over for the police?
Plot twist: the vehicle was heavily inebriated.— Viet Q Nguyen (@VietQNguyen) May 16, 2019
In a robot voice, ‘oh shit! I’m not pulling over. I’ve got robot priors! Screw you meat-bag police, I’m never going back to robot jail!!’— Dave (@IrateRaptor) May 17, 2019
Officer: "Uh...dispatch. A Black guy stole a car and abandoned the vehicle." Lol!— [_______] (@2MoC00kies) May 16, 2019