Yandex unveils self-driving car concept for taxi service

Russian search giant Yandex unveiled a prototype self-driving car on Tuesday, which it plans to incorporate into its taxi service in the future.

A heavily modified Toyota Prius V is the car of choice for Yandex. It has outfitted the prototype with sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence.

Even though the prototype has not been on public roads, it is able to drive in ‘complex environments’ including busy city traffic, according to Yandex’s press release.

See you on the roads next year

Yandex plans to test the car publically by 2018.

“Self-driving cars are set to revolutionize the way we commute within a matter of a decade,” said the head of Yandex’s self-driving project, Dmitry Polishchuk.

“There are dozens of companies around the world building their own driverless cars, but only a few of them have components crucial for turning this project into reality. These components include a stack of reliable technologies and algorithms, engineering expertise and resources, and access to the market for self-driving vehicles. Yandex is one of the few players who can boast of possessing all of the above.”

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Yandex claims that a lot of the engineering to make the self-driving system work has been internally sourced. That would be impressive, considering a few years ago self-driving cars were not even on the radar in Russia.

It would also make a good example for the Russian government, keen to show that the country still has innovators and grassroots programs that do not require investment or cooperation with U.S. and European companies.

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