Police in Providence, Rhode Island Wednesday pulled over a May Mobility self-driving shuttle just hours after it was pressed into service for the first time. Making its debut in Rhode Island, the officer pulled in behind the shuttle as it was dropping off passengers and lit up the car’s blues and reds because they were unfamiliar with the oddly shaped people transporter.
Alisyn Malek, May Mobility co-founder and COO, released a statement today stating the company had introduced its service to “public safety officials and community leaders to introduce them to our service,”continuing by saying “Our goal is to educate the broader community about May Mobility’s shuttle, so they will start to see us as part of their transportation options.”
It’s odd that the company spent the last month showing off the little transport module to folks around Providence, but this particular police officer hadn’t even heard about it. According to reports by Automotive News, no tickets or warnings were issued, it was just a case of a curious police officer pulling someone over for suspicion of weird-shaped car, I guess.
I’ve seen one of these little machines operating in Detroit, and it is definitely an oddity. I can see wanting to get a bit more information, but the machines are plastered with the logos of the company, a simple search would have revealed to the officer what it was.
May Mobility shuttles currently operate in Detroit, Columbus, and Providence. Unlike Waymo’s driverless taxis in Arizona, the May machines require an operator to be at the helm for the duration of the ride.
This brings up an excellent point, however. How would one pull over a self driving car if it did not have an operator aboard?