Self-Driving Taxi Drives Into Oncoming Traffic, Takes Off From Cop Trying To Pull It Over

You’re going the wrong Waymo! - Gif: FOX 10 Phoenix via YouTube
You’re going the wrong Waymo! - Gif: FOX 10 Phoenix via YouTube

Cops in Arizona had a shock last month when they attempted to pull over a car that was driving the wrong way. When they spotted a car heading the wrong way in traffic, they raced after it to pull the car over and ticket the driver, only to find that there was nobody behind the wheel as it was a self-driving Waymo taxi.

The Waymo electric Jaguar was spotted driving erratically in traffic on June 19, with the cops reporting that they saw it swerving and driving the wrong way in traffic. As such, they attempted to pull over the car to see what the problem was.

However, when they caught up with the car they found that it was a self-driving vehicle, reports Fox 10 News in Phoenix:


It’s not every day you see a Phoenix Police officer pulling over a driverless car. But, that’s what happened on June 19 after the officer observed a Waymo going haywire in traffic.

“I couldn’t help but come over here just out of morbid curiosity. I thought maybe there was a passenger,” a passerby said to the officer.

The officer replies, “You know the construction here? It was going eastbound in the westbound lanes, which is real bad. So I light it up and it takes off in the intersection.”

Waymo said in a statement shared with AZ Central the the issues faced by the robotaxi were as a result of “inconsistent construction signage” in the area:

The driverless car “was blocked from navigating back into the correct lane” for approximately 30 seconds, according to the company. That’s when the officer pulled in behind the car.

“In an effort to clear the intersection, the Waymo vehicle proceeded forward a short distance and pulled into the next available parking lot,” Waymo said, describing the traffic incident as lasting “approximately one minute.”

The fact that a human driver would have instinctively not driven into oncoming traffic, inconsistent signage or not, isn’t really addressed by Waymo’s statement.

Waymo added that the whole ordeal was dealt with in a matter of minutes and the cops attending the incident decided to let the Waymo drive free without giving it a ticket even though ticketing robotaxis is something cops are well within their rights to do in Arizona. Unlike in California, where driverless cars are currently immune from getting traffic tickets, law enforcement in Arizona and Texas can slap the owners of self-driving cars with some hefty penalties. Police told Fox 10 News self-driving taxis are rarely ticketed, despite reports of the cars stalling in traffic and driving erratically.

This isn’t the first time Waymo and other self-driving car companies have had run-ins with first responders. Cops in San Francisco previously tried to pull over a Cruise car on patrol in the city and self-driving cars have been found blocking the paths of ambulances and fire trucks.

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