Google’s self-driving division is officially nailing the coffin on its car-making ambitions, as it decided to retire the Firefly model test fleet and instead focus solely on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid test vehicles.

We’re unsure if there’s a parallel to be drawn between the tiny little self-driving pods called “Firefly” and the homonymous Sci-Fi series by Joss Whedon that has gained a cult following as well as the Serenity motion picture, but we do know both were short-lived. Waymo – which until becoming its own company was Google’s self-driving project – has decided to retire the fleet of very cute driverless vehicles after using them since 2014. The pod cars – introduced three years ago – were used to test and demonstrate real-world autonomous car technology. While the company says they were never going to be used in the long-term, we’re reading the silver lining here and understanding the company’s strategy has changed since their inception.

Collectively, the Firefly pod cars have racked millions of miles without human intervention; and have always been the subject of self-driving humor – right down to the Waymo’s special wiper used to wipe bird poop and other debris off the crucial, roof-mounted LIDAR sensor. Waymo has another fleet to worry about – the 600 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid autonomous cars.


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