Yandex to test robotaxis in Moscow
Russian tech giant Yandex plans to start testing driverless taxis in Moscow later this year. The ‘robotaxis’ will be operated via the app Yandex.Go. Initially, the service will be limited to Yasenevo, a district in the Russian capital. Over time, there will be more locations and more cars.
Russian law does not allow driverless vehicles without an ‘emergency driver’ at the wheel. Exceptions can be made in Special Economic Zones, such as Innopolis, a tech city in the autonomous Russian republic of Tatarstan; and since this year, in limited areas of large cities.
Yandex has a fleet of 170 autonomous vehicles, which in test mode have driven more than 14 million km. The company has been testing these autonomous vehicles for more than three years, in Russia, Israel and the United States.
Some of its vehicles are already doing food deliveries at some U.S. college campuses, in a partnership with food-ordering company GrubHub. Yandex owns 73% of spin-off Yandex Self-Driving Group (SDG), with the understanding that it will buy back the remaining share from Uber by year’s end.