SF Cop Pulls Over Driverless Car — Which Then Makes a Run For It

If a car commits a traffic violation in a forest, but nobody is around to be ticketed — did a crime even happen?

That was the existential dilemma facing one San Francisco cop who tried to pull over a driverless car in an unintentionally hilarious video that has since gone viral.

The incident occurred, funnily enough, on April Fool’s Day — and the officer involved must have surely wondered if he was being pranked.

The video shows an SFPD patrol car pulling over a Chevy Bolt for driving without its headlights on. But as the officer approaches the would-be-driver’s side window, presumably to scold the driver, he discovers to his surprise — there isn’t one.

As the confused cop tries to figure out what to do, trying and failing to open the door, he begins to make his way back to his patrol car — when the phantom suspect suddenly makes a break for it.

The autonomous car can be seen fleeing the scene, a move that would have landed the driver — were there one — in big trouble.

But according to the operators Cruise, the robot car was simply looking for a safe place to pull in; indeed, as the video shows, the Bolt gives up its surprise head start on the cops, activating its hazard lights and stopping a short distance up the street.

“The vehicle yielded to the police car, then pulled over to the nearest safe location for the traffic stop,” company spokesman Aaron Mclear told The Verge.

“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.”

The story matches up with the police version:

“On Friday, April 1, 2022, at approximately 10:00 pm officers observed a vehicle travelling without activated headlights at Clement St. and 8th Ave. Officers stopped behind the vehicle and discovered that there was no driver in the vehicle and no other occupant was present. During this contact officers affected a traffic stop,” an SFPD statement read.

“The vehicle moved forward but stopped again to yield for the officers. During the stop officers made contact with the remote operator of the driverless vehicle. Upon the officer’s notification a maintenance team responded to the vehicle’s location and took control of the vehicle. No citation was issued during the traffic stop.”

Cruise, a subsidiary of GM, has been testing its self-driving ride-hailing service on its own employees since 2017. They have only been available to the general public since February 1 of this year.

According to The Verge, they are only allowed operate in the city between 10PM and 6AM… making driving without headlights a big no-no.

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