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18 Oct, 2023 09:00

Russian tech giant launches robotaxi testing in Sochi

Yandex has announced the start of a pilot self-driving service in the Black Sea city
Russian tech giant launches robotaxi testing in Sochi

Russian tech giant Yandex has begun testing an unmanned taxi service in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, the company announced on Tuesday.   

As part of the trial, 20 self-driving cars will be operating in the Sirius urban settlement, one of the busiest districts of the city. Vehicles will drive passengers between locations such as Sirius University, Sochi Park, the Delta and Gamma Sirius hotels, and Olympic Prospect.    

Potential customers have been invited to participate in the test through the Yandex website. They will then get the option to call a robotaxi via the Yandex Go app. The trips will not be solo, however, as Russian law currently requires a human to supervise an algorithm-piloted car at all times.  

Yandex expects demand for unmanned taxis to increase in Sochi in the near future due to a growing number of tourists.   

According to the company, the pilot program builds on the experience it accumulated while running a self-driving taxi service in Innopolis, a campus town in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan. Residents have taken over 60,000 rides since 2018 in the settlement, which was built as an innovation hub.  

In June, Yandex launched an unmanned taxi service in one of Moscow’s largest districts, Yasenevo. All robotaxi trips cost 100 rubles ($1), the company said.

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