Cruise has only recently begun giving rides on its self-driving robotaxis to San Francisco residents, and one of its vehicles has already had a run-in with the cops. In a video posted to Instagram, the user records the interaction between the San Francisco Police Department and the driverless vehicle when pulled over for not having its lights on.
In the footage, the Cruise car pulls off to the side of the road and comes to a stop as a cop approaches the driver’s side before rushing to cross an intersection and pull over further down the road.
“Are you serious? How does that happen?” a bystander yells in the video.
According to Cruise spokesperson Aaron Mclear, the autonomous vehicle didn’t drive away to avoid the cops but chose a safer area to pull over in, a feat that most human drivers can’t pull off so effortlessly. Mclear also confirmed that the SFPD stopped the vehicle for not having its headlights turned on and that Cruise has since corrected the problem.
“The vehicle yielded to the police car, then pulled over to the nearest safe location for the traffic stop,” Mclear said.
“An officer contacted Cruise personnel, and no citation was issued. We work closely with the SFPD on how to interact with our vehicles and have a dedicated phone number for them to call in situations like this.”
Cruise, a General Motors company, employs LIDAR technology to fuel its vehicles’ self-driving capabilities. The cars have been used to shuttle around the business’s San Francisco-based staff since 2017, but the company has only recently created a waiting list to taxi the city’s general public.
According to Cruise, the San Francisco Police Department has a dedicated phone number for officers to call if one of Cruise’s self-driving cars is pulled over.
The hilarious episode illustrates some of the issues as self-driving cars become more common on urban streets.
The cause of the Cruise vehicle’s headlights going out is yet unknown. Maybe the car’s automated headlights were switched off or failed to detect the darkness. In any case, it’s alarming. In addition, cruise vehicles are only allowed to travel from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., necessitating the use of headlights.