Seriously … When Police Pull Over a Driverless Car, Who Gets the Ticket?

pygmalion05 —  July 18, 2012 — 3 Comments

HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Daisy … Daisy … give me … your answer … do.

As the driverless car story continues to unfold, there are plenty of Isaac Asimov-level questions set to come up.

Do you remember this little slice of cinematic perfection?:

Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.”

(A little help for the kids in attendance, it’s the classic dialogue between a spaceship pilot and his onboard computer-gone-mad HAL 9000 in the classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Rent it kids, it’s required viewing.)

As the self-driving vehicle debate continues, check out this hilarious thread posted to, where the original poster asks his forum mates:

“If the cops stop the Google driverless car for a moving violation does the car go all HAL 9000 and refuse to pull over? Who gets the ticket? So many unanswered questions.”

The anonymous poster was actually reacting to this very real news story (well, photo) — that the cops pulled over and stopped Google’s driverless car in D.C.

Well … what the heck happens?

It’s a worthwhile question, if the search giant’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was right when he predicted in this TechCrunch report that “self-driving cars should become the predominant mode of transportation in our lifetime” — these questions are GOING to come up.

Who gets the ticket?

The human driver? Which one? The human driver in the right-hand side passenger seat?

Or, heaven forbid … the company that manufactured and sold the robot-driven car.

This is going to get interesting, isn’t it …?

3 responses to Seriously … When Police Pull Over a Driverless Car, Who Gets the Ticket?


    From everything I know about law, the owner of the car would be liable if no one is in the driver’s seat, whether or not he/she was in the car. If there was someone in the driver’s seat and he/she had the ability to override the controls if the car was doing something illegal, then the person in the driver’s seat would be liable. If it was a fault in the car’s functionality, the owner could sue the manufacturer for damages.


    It’s actually still being debated MM123 — will be very interesting to see how that unfolds@!!!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Want a Driverless Car? Here’s What’s Keeping It From Happening … « VIPER blog - July 29, 2012

    […] See Also: Seriously … When Police Pull Over a Driverless Car, Who Gets the Ticket? […]

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