Yes, it's real.
Mountain View police in California had to confirm that the story about a self-driving car operated by Google was indeed pulled over by an officer for going too slow this week.
The stop occurred Thursday afternoon when an officer noticed traffic building behind a slow-moving car, the Mountain View Police Department's blog explained.
"The car was traveling at 24 mph in a 35 mph zone," the blog post stated. "As the officer approached the slow moving car he realized it was a Google Autonomous Vehicle."
According to the police, the officer stopped the car and contacted the operators to learn more about how it was setting its speed and to give them a few words about how "impeding traffic" can be a violation of California Vehicle Code.
On Google+, the Google Self-Driving Car Project explained that it had set its prototype vehicles' speed at 25 mph max for safety reasons.
"We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets," the team stated. "Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project. After 1.2 million miles of autonomous driving (that’s the human equivalent of 90 years of driving experience), we’re proud to say we’ve never been ticketed!"
Police noted that the car was lawfully allowed to be driving on the neighborhood road.
Zandr Milewski took the now viral photo of the unusual traffic stop from an office building.
"We all immediately dropped what we were doing to go look," Milewski told the San Jose Mercury News. "It's not something you see every day."
Mountain Police spokesman Sgt. Saul Jaeger told TheBlaze in an email the car, per California's code, did have an operator on board who could take control of the vehicle if necessary.
"In our car stop, the vehicle was impeding traffic and was stopped. The officer decided to warn the operator and took the time to learn a little more about the vehicle," Jaeger said.
"Safety is our number one concern with everyone on the roadway, cars, bicyclists, pedestrians and really anyone who uses the roadways to get around. Self-driving cars are a great concept and so far have proven to be viable," he added. "The bottom line is that as long as they are abiding by the laws and rules and operating in a safe manner, just like every other vehicle, then we are OK with it."
This story has been updated to include more information and to clarify that an operator was in the vehicle at the time, per California code.