Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars Won’t Look Like This Anymore
The lights have gone out on the “Firefly.”
Waymo is abandoning its self-driving car prototype that was conceptualized in 2013 when the company was still under Google’s control, according to a company blog post. Waymo is opting to shelf the futuristic-looking pod for minivans manufactured by already-established automobile giants like Chrysler.
“By focusing on mass-produced vehicles like the Pacifica minivan, we’ll be able to bring fully self-driving technology to more people, more quickly,” the post reads.
Waymo says that using the minivans will allow for more realistic testing, as Firefly is limited to 25 mph and its interior — which has no steering wheels or breaks — is a stark contrast from a typical vehicle.
Waymo is currently using the Pacificas in its early rider program — public trials of the company’s self-driving cars located in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The company said it had 600 of the minivans within its initial fleet since the program’s unveiling in April.
Meanwhile, the Firefly will still be utilized for limited use.
In August, the vehicle will drive to the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix and then to the Thinkery in Austin. A couple of models will also be displayed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., and the Design Museum in London.
“Firefly has taken us on an incredible journey over the last three years, and we’re looking forward to sharing this bit of self-driving history with the world,” the blog post concludes.