A video showing an autonomous Waymo vehicle interacting with a police officer has gone viral on Twitter, attracting over 4.1 million views and 14 million on TikTok.
The Twitter video captures a police officer attempting to guide a self-driving Waymo car to the side of the road. Meanwhile, between bursts of laughter, the passenger explains to the officer that no one controls the vehicle.
“Sir, we can’t move,” can be heard in the video. “We apologize sincerely. This car won’t let us move. We’re not driving.”
Passenger Johnny Romano spoke to Insider about his first experience in a self-driving car, expressing his admiration for the vehicle’s ability to handle the situation. The event took place in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 16, as confirmed by both Romano and Waymo.
Romano recounted that the car had previously come across a parade and a police officer, trying to avoid them by circling the block but unintentionally turning towards the front of the parade. The vehicle stopped momentarily when the officer signaled to clear the way for an oncoming car.
Romano said, “It knew how to react and attempted to evade the parade. Upon encountering the second police officer, it recognized the need to turn around.”
He added that the officer wasn’t angry with him since it was evident that the car was autonomous. During the incident, Romano received a call from Waymo support, who stayed on the line until he arrived at his destination.
A Waymo representative told Insider that the company employs advanced machine learning techniques to teach vehicles to recognize hand signals and construction signs.
The spokesperson explained, “In this instance, the Waymo vehicle completed a multi-point turn and successfully exited the obstructed lane within 90 seconds of interacting with the police officer.”
In 2018, Waymo introduced its inaugural autonomous vehicle service in downtown Phoenix. Users can request a ride through an app and be dropped off at a designated city location.
This isn’t the first instance of law enforcement adapting to interactions with autonomous vehicles. Earlier this month, the San Francisco Police Department pulled over a Cruise driverless car operating without its headlights.