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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Waymo is saying goodbye to the Firefly, its prototype for a self-driving car (GOOGL)

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Google car

The light is going out on the Firefly, the self-driving vehicle designed by Google sister company Waymo.

Waymo is retiring its fleet of Fireflies to focus on putting its autonomous driving software in vehicles mass produced by the big car makers, company officials said Monday in a post on Medium. Some of the prototype cars will end up on display in museums including the Computer History Museum in Google’s hometown of Mountain View, California.

“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,” YooJung Ahn and Jaime Waydo, Waymo’s Lead Industrial Designer and Lead Systems Engineer, respectively, said in their post.

A Waymo representative did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Google initially designed the Firefly back in 2013, Ahn and Waydo said. From the start, the car was intended to be an experiment that would allow engineers to explore different ideas about how autonomous vehicles should work or be configured, they said. Although it was seen all over the place in cities like Mountain View while Google was testing it, the Firefly was never intended to be a production vehicle, they said.

Along the way, the Firefly racked up some impressive achievements for the development of autonomous vehicles, including million of miles driven and the first completely autonomous trip.

“Firefly taught us exactly what it takes to go truly self-driving,” Ahn and Waydo wrote.

You can read their full post here »

SEE ALSO: Google shows improved self-driving system in Chrysler Pacifica

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June 13, 2017 at 06:17AM

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from Troy Wolverton

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