Russians working on level 5 self-driving vehicles

Many players from both the corporate world and startups are focusing on self-driving vehicles. While 44 companies work on releasing prototypes for autonomous cars in the near future and the city of Reno, Nevada, looks into developing the first autonomous buses, Russia is joining the game by investing in autonomous research and development.

Russian internet giant Yandex, also one of the most popular search engines in Russia, aims to unveil a prototype next year. Starting from its taxi service in Moscow, Yandex.taxi, the company is actively investing in self-driving technology, after already incorporating mapping, real-time navigation, computer vision and object recognition software.

For now, based on proprietary algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, the prototype detects obstacles and pedestrians and runs at a maximum speed of 15 km/h (9 mph). The prototype is a Toyota Prius, with an Nvidia processor and a radar unit on the roof from Velodyne. The company’s final goal is to launch a self-driving car with level 5 autonomy, meaning it will require no human intervention.

“Self-driving cars are set to revolutionize the way we commute within a matter of a decade,” says Dmitry Polishchuk, head of Yandex.Taxi. “At this point in time, 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.”

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