Dear Visitor,

Our system has found that you are using an ad-blocking browser add-on.

We just wanted to let you know that our site content is, of course, available to you absolutely free of charge.

Our ads are the only way we have to be able to bring you the latest high-quality content, which is written by professional journalists, with the help of editors, graphic designers, and our site production and I.T. staff, as well as many other talented people who work around the clock for this site.

So, we ask you to add this site to your Ad Blocker’s "white list" or to simply disable your Ad Blocker while visiting this site.

Continue on this site freely
  HOME     MENU     SEARCH     NEWSLETTER    
TECHNOLOGY, DISCOVERY & INNOVATION. UPDATED ABOUT A MINUTE AGO.
You are here: Home / Automotive Tech / Minivan Kills Waymo's Futuristic Car
Waymo Ditches Futuristic Self-Driving Bubble Car for a Minivan
Waymo Ditches Futuristic Self-Driving Bubble Car for a Minivan
By Samuel Gibbs Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
JUNE
13
2017
When Google unveiled its brand new self-driving Relevant Products/Services prototype in May 2014 it looked like a shot at a new type of public transport system filled with pod-like autonomous cars. Now that utopian dream seems at an end. Waymo is killing off the specifically designed "Firefly" in favor of an adapted Chrysler van.

The Alphabet-owned self-driving company shifted focus when it was taken out of Google’s moonshot division, X. It moved away from building its own cars and towards creating the technology for others to build autonomous cars.

Taking the axe to the cute little Firefly bubble car is the next step in that change.

YooJung Ahn, lead industrial designer and Jaime Waydo, lead systems engineer for Waymo said in a blogpost: :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 of Fireflies and focus on integrating our latest technology into vehicles like our new self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan.”

Instead of operating bespoke self-driving cars, Waymo now uses commercial vehicles retro-fitted with self-driving technology. It’s a technique the company used when Google first unveiled its self-driving project with a modified Toyota Prius and then modified Lexus SUVs. It offers many advantages to the firms looking to develop the technology, allowing them to avoid the regulatory and safety headaches associated with producing cars, which are numerous and strenuous due to their potential to cause harm.

This time Waymo has partnered with Chrysler for its Pacifica minivan, which the company says will help bring self-driving technology more quickly and to more people.

The Waymo designers said: “The Pacifica minivans are equipped with our latest generation of custom-built radar, LiDAR and vision systems and an all-new AI compute platform, so they can see even further and sharper. They can also reach full speed (where the Firefly is limited to 25mph), and the interior is equipped with creature comforts that passengers expect in their vehicles today -- which makes our initial fleet of 600 self-driving minivans a perfect fit for our early rider program.”

While some organizations are researching autonomous technology for public transport, particularly those trialling systems in the UK, the majority of development has shifted towards commercial systems. Most automotive manufacturers are looking to effectively shoehorn self-driving systems into existing cars and market them to the public as having more advanced driving aids, with Tesla’s Autopilot system the most high-profile example.

© 2017 Guardian Web under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.

Image credit: Google/Waymo.

May Interest You:

New cars come equipped with safety systems. But how about all the other cars that are more than a year old? No worries... There are plenty of car safety features that are available, affordably, for ALL cars, not just new ones.

See products that are available for YOUR car at: Make My Car Safe, the premium online seller of car safety products for ALL cars.


Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
MORE IN AUTOMOTIVE TECH
SCI-TECH TODAY
NEWSFACTOR NETWORK SITES
NEWSFACTOR SERVICES
© Copyright 2017 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.