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On Its First Day Carrying Passengers, A Self-Driving Car Was Pulled Over By Police

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.

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.

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?

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Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.