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Waymo tells police how to break into and disable its self-driving cars

  • The instructions appear in a 41-page booklet provided to law enforcement as something of an introduction to the fully self-driving cars.
  • They aim to immobilize the vehicle, first, but protect Waymo's autonomous tech second.
  • The self-driving unit of Alphabet has pulled away from some of its autonomous driving rivals in recent months, as Uber and Tesla have each faced reports of costly and even fatal accidents.
Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan that's party of Waymo's fleet
Waymo
Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan that's party of Waymo's fleet

Waymo is telling police in California exactly how to break into its autonomous cars in the event of an emergency, according to documents reviewed by tech news site IEEE Spectrum.

Among the instructions: "Open one door to prevent the self-driving car from moving. Break a window if doors are locked and immediate entry to vehicle is necessary. Call Waymo to unlock the doors remotely if there is time."

The instructions also explain to look for the red indicator light associated with the electronic parking brake. If all else fails, grab scissors and work quickly.

The instructions appear in a 41-page booklet provided to law enforcement as an introduction to the fully self-driving cars. They aim to immobilize the vehicle first and protect Waymo's autonomous tech second.

Law enforcement officers are told to first try the car's electronic systems for breaking and contacting technical support. But if those don't work, officers are encouraged to physically cut engine parts and to "minimize time in front of vehicle."

The instructional booklet also contains the number for a designated hotline for police, fire department and other first responders to reach Waymo.

The self-driving unit of Google parent company Alphabet has pulled away from some of its autonomous driving rivals in recent months, as Uber and Tesla have each faced reports of accidents.