Russia's Internet Giant Yandex Testing Autonomous Delivery Robots

Yandex, the Google of Russia, is testing self-driving delivery robots that are hauling small packages around its Moscow office.
Donna Fuscaldo

Yandex, the Google of Russia, started testing a self-driving delivery robot that can carry small size cargo.  The robot, called Yandex.Rover is already delivering small packages on the premises of Yandex's headquarters in Moscow. 

The autonomous robots are carrying packages between the office and the company's bus station that connects workers to its other Yandex offices around Moscow. 


Robots can get out of the way of objects, plan routes

Yandex said the robots move completely autonomously although there is remote supervision during testing. It can identify objects, plan out the route, stop for pedestrians and animals and get out of the way of obstacles. The robot is even able to operate in the dark. 

“Yandex.Rover utilizes our achievements in self-driving,” says Dmitry Polishchuk, head of Self-Driving at Yandex. “We have adapted our existing technologies for new challenges and a new vehicle with a different set of sensors, so the development did not take as much time as it would have if we had to do it all from scratch. I believe robots like this will have a variety of applications in the near future. They can, for example, become indispensable for the ‘last mile’ delivery.” 

Yandex robots can deliver everything in the future 

Yandex said that in the future Yandex.Rover could be used to deliver orders for Yandex.Eats, its restaurant delivery service, bring groceries to customers for its Yandex.Lavka service and deliver goods ordered from its Beru marketplace. Yandex said the robot could also be available to purchase by other companies. 

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Yandex isn't the only company going after the delivery robot market. In the U.S. Starship Technologies makes a fleet of autonomous food delivery robots that will soon roam college campuses across the country.

This summer the startup raised $40 million to develop its six-wheeled robots that will deliver food to students. The San Francisco startup has already tested its delivery robots in more than 100 cities and across 20 countries. They have run 350,000 miles, drive down 4 million streets and completed its 100,000th delivery in the summer. 

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