Waymo driverless car goes viral after police officer directed it to pull over

A screenshot of the viral video on TikTok showing driverless car passengers reacting to the police officer’s guidance. TikTok/@johnnyromano3
  • A video of a driverless car reacting to a police officer generated nearly 14 million views on TikTok.
  • In the video, a Waymo passenger can be heard telling police there’s no human driving.
  • A company spokesperson said the car reacted to the police officer’s guidance w ithin 90 seconds.

A video of a driverless car reacting to a police officer is going viral on TikTok.

In the TikTok video, which has generated nearly 14 million views, a police officer can be seen attempting to guide a driverless Waymo car to the side of the road. Meanwhile, the passenger can be heard trying to explain to the officer in between laughing that no one is behind the wheel.

“Sir, we cannot move,” TikTok user @johnnyromano3 can be heard saying in the video. “We’re sorry. This car won’t let us move. We’re not driving.”

Johnny Romano told Insider it was his first time in a self-driving car and he was actually impressed by how the vehicle handled itself. The incident took place on April 16 in Phoenix, Arizona, Romano and Waymo confirmed.

Romano said the car had already encountered the parade and a police officer earlier and attempted to avoid it by essentially going around the block, but had ended up turning toward the front of the parade instead of away. The car briefly paused when the police officer called for it to move out of the way for another oncoming vehicle.

“It knew how to respond and essentially try to avoid the parade,” Romano said. “When it came across the second police officer it figured out it needed to turn around.”

Romano said the police officer was not upset with him as it was very obvious the car was driverless. He said he received a call from Waymo support when the issue occurred and the caller stayed on the line until he was delivered to h is final destination.

A Waymo spokesperson told Insider that the company is using advanced machine learning to teach the vehicles how to respond to hand signal and construction signs.

“In this particular case, the Waymo vehicle pulled to the side as desired, and then performed a multi-point turn and successfully maneuvered out of the blocked lane within 90 seconds after the interaction with the police officer,” the spokesperson said. 

Waymo first launched its autonomous vehicle service in downtown Phoenix in 2018. People can use an app to summon the car and have it drop them off at a destination within the city.

Romano’s story is not the first of police learning to deal with driverless cars. Earlier this month, the San Francisco Police pulled over a Cruise driverless taxi

that didn’t have its headlights on.