Waymo drops tiny self-driving cars for minivans

Waymo has retired its “Firefly” self-driving cars without steering wheels, launched by Google in 2014, in favour of minivans.

“From the beginning, Firefly was intended as a platform to experiment and learn, not for mass production,” it said.

“By designing and building a truly self-driving vehicle from scratch, we were able to crack some of the earliest self-driving puzzles  –  where to place the sensors, how to integrate the computer, what controls passengers need in a car.”

Waymo has started allowing members of the public to use its self-driving cars, and it will focus on integrating its technology into vehicles like the Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

“We’ll be able to bring fully self-driving technology to more people, more quickly,” said Waymo on the switch.

The minivans are equipped with Waymo’s radar, LiDAR, and vision systems, and a new AI compute platform.

The vans also come with more comfortable interiors and can reach normal speeds – the Firefly was limited to 40km/h.

Waymo said the Firefly will go on display at science centres and museums.

Now read: Lyft and Waymo work together on self-driving cars

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Waymo drops tiny self-driving cars for minivans