The Firefly, Google's autonomous driving prototype, seems to have reached the end of its journey with Google all set to retire the model to put more emphasis on Chrysler Pacifica minivans instead.
The news has already been confirmed by Waymo lead systems engineer Jaime Waydo and lead industrial designer YooJung Ahn. Waymo believes that this move will increase access to the autonomous driving technology for more people in lesser time. In a statement released by Waymo, it has been said, "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 Chrysler Pacifica minivans are equipped with newer sensors and technology that will enable them to see a greater distance with increased clarity. Besides being more comfortable to travel in, the minivans are not limited to a meagre 40km/h speed like the Firefly. The minivans are being developed in a manner that will allow them to be commercially mass-produced very soon by major carmakers.
Despite the success of the Firefly as the pilot project for its autonomous driving technology, it is understood Google hadn't intended to mass produce the model. It was developed primarily as a research vehicle that successfully made 'self-driving' a reality for the first time.