Google’s Waymo is phasing out its self-driving car called Firefly, officials said in a post on Medium on Monday. YooJung Ahn and Jaime Waydo, officials from the Alphabet-owned firm, said the two-seater with no pedals or steering wheel was developed as a “platform to experiment and learn, and not for mass production”.
The statement said the company would focus on developing self-driving technology for a fleet of 600 Chrysler Pacifica minivans that can drive at full speed, unlike the Firefly, which was restricted to 25 miles per hour. “On October 20, 2015, we completed the world’s first truly self-driving trip when Steve Mahan cruised through an Austin neighborhood in a Firefly with no controls or human backup – a feat that was only possible because of the capabilities and redundant systems we developed in this prototype,” Ahn and Waydo, Waymo’s Lead Industrial Designer and Lead Systems Engineer said in the post.
The retired cars will be on display in Austin and Mountain View in the United States, as well as at the Design Museum in London. “Firefly has taken us on an incredible journey over the last three years, and we are looking forward to sharing this bit of self-driving history with the world,” the post said.
In February, Google had filed a lawsuit against ride-hailing firm Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets and technology related to its self-driving car. The lawsuit alleged that Otto’s co-founder Anthony Levandowski had downloaded “14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files” when he was working with Google.
“We believe these actions were part of a concerted plan to steal Waymo’s trade secrets and intellectual property,” BBC had quoted officials of Waymo as saying. Uber fired Levandowski following Google’s allegations.