Yandex Self Driving Team
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Michigan has become the third urban testing ground for Yandex, providing progressive support and allowing more autonomy.
We had planned in June 2020 to provide public rides in our autonomous taxis on the streets of Detroit during the North American International Auto Show. The first Yandex self-driving cars arrived soon after CES 2020 and we started actively getting ready. By mid-spring, we had already done a significant amount of preparatory work, so when NAIAS was canceled in April, we began searching for a Michigan location for longer-term regular testing.
We are pleased to announce that we have chosen Ann Arbor, a world-class university town, as this location. The city’s wealth of research and engineering facilities and many bright young minds that call Ann Arbor home, make it the perfect testing ground for innovations in transportation. Yandex’s self-driving cars are already roaming city streets, including Hyundai Sonatas, our fourth-generation autonomous vehicles created in partnership with Hyundai Mobis.
This will make Ann Arbor our third urban testing ground in addition to Moscow and Tel Aviv. Michigan has a very progressive and supportive regulatory environment for the development of self-driving cars. This allows for rapid development and advancement of the fleet in Ann Arbor. Unlike Moscow and Tel Aviv, where self-driving vehicles must always have engineers behind the wheel, in Ann Arbor we are allowed more autonomy.
“We are trying to use our testing locations to the fullest. For example, Innopolis is the only testing location in Russia that allows self-driving cars to transport passengers without regulations requiring that an engineer be present behind the driver’s wheel. This is where we launched Europe’s first robotaxi service two years ago and, since then, have made thousands of trips without a driver behind the wheel. Ann Arbor, with its bigger size and more progressive regulatory environment, will enable us to take this experience a step further,” says Dmitry Polishchuk, Head of Yandex Self-Driving Cars.
Our goal has always been to create a technology that will be used to accomplish different transportation and logistical tasks globally, in varying road and weather conditions. Expanding our testing locations to areas that provide new and different situations is critical to achieving that goal. We have already seen how the experience that we have gathered in existing sites helps us adapt to new conditions in others. New territories bring new challenges and new opportunities, and we are excited for the ones we see in Ann Arbor.
You can read more about the differences in testing self-driving cars in the US, Russia, and Israel in our previous blogpost, as well as watch how our driverless vehicles roam the streets of different countries autonomously.
This article orginally appeared in Medium.com
Michigan's Lt. Governor Garlind Gilchrist II and former MEDC CEO Jeff Mason took a a ride in the Yandex self-driving car in early 2020. Watch footage in the video below.
Yandex Self-Driving Cars
Lt. Governor Gilchrist and MEDC CEO Jeff Mason witness first-hand the innovation happening in Michigan at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show as they take a ride in the Yandex self-driving car. Yandex was selected as a 2020 Michigan Mobility Challenge Airport to Downtown Technology Demonstration.
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