Tech giant Apple currently has a programme in which test staff are taught how to regain manual control of an autonomous vehicle, according to a Business Insider report. A document obtained by the news website reveals that Apple is training its drivers – before they are allowed on public roads – to be able to override the autonomous system if there is a need to do so.

Three Lexus RX450h SUVs have been enlisted for this purpose, and they have each been outfitted with a Logitech G27 steering wheel and pedals – yes, the kind you’d use for a gaming console – for drive-by-wire control of the vehicles. During safety testing, the autonomous system is controlled electronically either by the installed controls, or via software. The tester onboard needs to be ready to assume control of the vehicle.

In operation, depressing the brake pedal or turning the steering wheel will disable autonomous mode, although drivers can continue to accelerate without disengaging the vehicle’s self-driving function. Six permits have been applied for by Apple for the three previous-gen SUVs, and most of the drivers are PhDs specialising in machine learning and with prior experience in companies such as Bosch and Tesla, according to the report.

Thus equipped, the vehicles will be able to “capture and store relevant data before a collision occurs,” Apple told Business Insider. Called the Apple Automated System, the self-driving setup in each car must be monitored by a driver who has to pass seven different tests before they are considered fully trained. Each Apple driver will have two practice runs and three trials on a private course, the report adds.

Divided into three types of manoeuvres (basic, intervention and situational), the table details the various scenarios in which the Apple safety driver will have to take over control of the autonomous vehicle, and to what extent. As before, Apple remains tight-lipped on its autonomous car developments.