While everyone knows that self-driving cars have a long way to go before they can be let loose on the road (and there have been many instances proving this), progress is slowly happening. The next thing that carmakers are trying to tackle is getting their version of the self-driving vehicle to pay attention to road crew hand signals and police.
On Monday, The Detroit News disclosed that one California Highway Patrol officer tried to stop a Tesla Model S that was cruising at a higher speed than the posted limit. The officer’s sirens and lights failed to stop the car or the speeding. The officer pulled up alongside the vehicle to see that the human driver had fallen asleep, so the autopilot system on the vehicle took over.
The patrol officer had to use creative methods to stop the vehicle. The unit blocked traffic with a police vehicle driving in front of the self-driven car until it stopped fully. The driver was awoken and found to be intoxicated. No information is known about the driver yet, but the person was charged with the crime of driving under the influence of alcohol.
What Can Be Done?
This situation has left police officers wondering what it is going to be like when self-driving cars are the norm and have started bringing up many questions.
In the summer of 2018, Ken Monroe, a Michigan state trooper, took Ford engineers along on patrol rides so that the engineers could ask questions about what police officers want to see happen from self-driving cars in that situation.
Flashing lights can indicate different things, such as the need to pass or pull over. The big cue is for the self-driving car to know how long the cop car has been there, but also that the self-driving car has to understand the intentions of the officer when the car is pulled over.