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Google's driverless car avoids bump in the road with temporary steering wheel

Driverless car
'So we turn it... starboard, right?'

California's Department of Motor Vehicles recently ruled that self-driving cars would require manual controls if they were to be tested on its roads, putting another obstacle on Google's radar.

But Mountain View has just provided an update on its driverless car project, and apparently it always knew that California law would required test vehicles to have a manual fallback option.

Google says it "had a plan ready", and that plan was to fit a temporary steering wheel to its cars. That obviously contradicts Google's master plan for a totally autonomous vehicle, but after testing it should be able to ditch the wheel - or at least that's the hope.

No delays ahead

Discussing how the matter will be treated in Britain, a spokesperson for the UK Department of Transport told TechRadar that a regulatory review is currently underway.

"We'd anticipate that early cars would have to have a driver in the seat ready to take over [with manual controls]." he said, adding that "nothing has been decided yet."

Google also confirmed that its cars are now being tested on its own test track, which simulates a busy street full of everything from traffic lights to "wobbling cyclists" - so that's what Eric Schmidt is doing these days.

"In the last stages of development, we will add all the finishes, like a final paint job and interior buttons, that complete a 'real' vehicle you'd want to ride in."