Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle arm Waymo has discontinued the Firefly, its prototype autonomous vehicle, to focus on mass produced cars.
In a blogpost on Medium, YooJung Ahn, lead industrial designer and Jaime Waydo, lead systems engineer said the Firefly was only a temporary product for testing.
They said: “From the beginning, Firefly was intended as a platform to experiment and learn, not for mass production.
“Now that we’ve moved to our next phase – letting members of the public use our self-driving cars in their daily lives – we’re ready to retire our fleet.”
Waymo developed a self-driving version of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan in late December 2016, and Ahn and Waydo said the company would focus on similar vehicles.
The development comes on the heels of Waymo’s service deal with Avis Budget, in which the car hire service agreed to provide maintenance to its autonomous vehicles.
Waymo claimed that integrating its technology into mass produced vehicles would speed up the adoption of autonomous cars by bringing them to people more quickly.
The autonomous Pacifica minivans include Waymo’s radar, lidar, and vision systems, and can reach full-speed, while the Firefly had its speed capped at 25mph. Waymo’s ongoing legal battle with Uber hinges around lidar technology, and it is due to head to trial in October.
The initial fleet of 600 autonomous Pacifica will be used in Waymo’s earlier rider programme, currently limited to residents of Phoenix, Arizona.