By now you’ve likely heard about how one of Google’s self-driving cars was pulled over recently in California. The car was doing 24 in a 35 mph zone, which left us wondering: How fast (or slow) are these Roombas of the roadways?
We’d say that the Google car pulled over for going too slow had the “pedal to the metal” if the vehicle had a gas pedal. (It doesn’t. Nor does it have a steering wheel.) The driverless vehicle has a top speed of just 25 mph, which Google touts as one of its many safety features. The same goes with the car waiting 1.5 second to accelerate after a light turns green, as that’s when many rear-end crashes occur. And it turns out that Google’s fleet of self-driving cars are remarkably safe given the number of miles they’ve traveled over the years.
In the six years since it launched its driverless car project, Google says its fleet of robotic vehicles have traveled more than 1.2 million miles in “autonomous mode.” In that time, the vehicles have been involved in just 15 minor accidents and never was the self-driving car the cause of a fender bender, according to Google.
The company also boast that its cars have never received a traffic citation – and that’s still true even after last week’s run-in (image above) with the Mountain View po-po. In a blog post, the police department stated that its officer “stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic per 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code.”
That code, aka the minimum speed law, states that vehicle may not travel so far below the speed limit as to impede traffic.