There was a lot of buzz when Google revealed prototypes of its self-driving cars in May, which come without a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals. Now, however, new rules in California concerning the testing of autonomous vehicles state that the driver must be “capable of taking over active physical control of the vehicle at any time,” which means manual controls have to be in place.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google plans to adhere to the new rules by constructing a temporary steering wheel and pedal system for the test cars. Google is building about a hundred prototypes of its self-driving cars, and the company tells the WSJ that testing will start next month on private roads, with vehicles that have all the necessary manual controls.
Google has said that its self-drive cars focus on safety — they come equipped with sensors that remove blind spots, can detect objects at a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, and the speed has been limited to 25 mph.
➤ A Google Car Without a Steering Wheel? Not So Fast, California Says [Wall Street Journal]