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Yandex to boost self-driving fleet and testing

By Dave Leggett | 20 August 2019

Russia's Google competitor Yandex is reportedly planning to increase its fleet of self-driving vehicles ten-fold to more than 1,000 cars.

Reuters reported that the internet services company is considering expanding its fleet of self-driving cars to up to 1,000 within the next two years in order to speed up tests on the new technology. Currently it has around 100 self-driving cars available for testing and is testing on Moscow roads.

The company says it first introduced self-driving cars on public streets in December 2017 and has conducted testing in five different locations across three countries: Moscow, Innopolis, and Skolkovo in Russia; Las Vegas in the US; and Tel Aviv in Israel.

In Moscow, where drivers frequently flout road regulations, Yandex says that the cars have to learn how to navigate safely through chaotic road conditions and speeding drivers. In Russia drivers tend to exceed speed limits by up to 20kph (12mph) because that is the minimum threshold to receive a ticket. Yandex maintains that anywhere it operates a self-driving vehicle, the cars strictly follow the rules and the speed limits, so in Moscow, the self-driving cars must also adjust to driving in a traffic flow that goes 10–15kph (6–10mph) faster than the car.

"We plan to further increase the fleet, by as much as even a thousand cars. We can produce the first thousand cars fairly quickly within one and half and two years," Dmitry Polishchuk, head of Yandex's self-driving car division, told Reuters in an interview.