Yandex, the company behind Russia’s largest search engine, has rolled out its new generation of autonomous vehicles, this time developed in partnership with South Korea’s Hyundai Mobis.
According to VTB Capital analysts, between Yandex’s second and current fourth generations of autonomous vehicles the cost of equipping cars with driverless capabilities has shrunk 50%.
Yandex engineers have improved sensors that guide a car. There are now more cameras, including those with varying focal lengths. Radar systems, now placed on the roof, help recognize more vehicles ahead of and behind the car than before. Lidar solutions on the front fenders can now better “see” pedestrians and other vehicles even with poor side view.
A pioneering group of Hyundai Sonata autonomous cars was first put to the rigorous test in Moscow back in March. By the end of this year the Yandex fleet is expected to have another hundred such vehicles.
In addition to Moscow-based testing, some of the cars will be used as driverless taxis in Innopolis, an analog of the Skolkovo innovation hub built outside the city of Kazan in Tatarstan, in the mid-Volga region. Rides will be free of charge and a person will be in the driver’s chair, as Russian law does not yet permit the unsupervised use of autonomous vehicles. Some other vehicles will join Yandex’s pilot fleet in the U.S., Michigan.
Yandex and Hyundai Mobis signed an MoU over a joint platform for autonomous vehicles in March, 2019.
The partners have plans to use the new platform in the development of driverless fleets for carsharing companies as well.