Google's Self-Driving Car Needs a Steering Wheel After All

Aug 22, 2014 03:00 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

Sorry, Google, you're going to have to put a steering wheel back on that self-driving car.

That's the message from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which has introduced new regulations effective Sept. 16 that require an old-fashioned steering wheel and brake and accelerator pedals, the Wall Street Journal's Digits blog reported.

Google's famous autonomous vehicle doesn't have a steering wheel, depending on sensors and software to navigate streets.

While the company could continue to test its car on private roads or public highways outside California, Google plans to develop a temporary brake and steering wheel system for test cars.

"With these additions, our safety drivers can test the self-driving features, while having the ability to take control of the vehicle if necessary," said Google spokeswoman Courtney Hohne, as quoted by the Journal.

Google is building 100 autonomous vehicles for testing, but the prototypes will only reach a maximum speed of 25 mph for safety. The cars will be tested on private roads starting next month and will be equipped with the temporary manual brake and pedal system.

As self-driving cars come closer to market, lawmakers are gradually catching up to autonomous technology by passing measures such as the new California testing rules.

"We wanted to take baby steps in terms of testing and how technology is rolled out so we are capable of handling it and Californians accept it," said Bernard Soriano, the state official heading the autonomous testing rules, as quoted by the Journal.

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