Yandex completes first ever empty car driving test

Yandex completes first ever empty car driving test
Yandex completes the first ever in Europe road test of a self-driving car with no one in it. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews October 25, 2023

Russian Internet company Yandex has become the first firm in Europe to successfully complete tests of a self-driving car without a human being present in the car, the company said on October 25.

Yandex has been actively conducting trials of self-driving cars in Innopolis in the republic of Tatarstan since 2018, and has completed millions of hours of driving time. But this was the first time a car drove the test source with no one in it.

According to a spokesperson for Yandex, the testing process has reached its final stage, where the self-driving car operates without a human driver on board. Instead, another vehicle accompanies the self-driving car, equipped with an operator who can intervene and halt the autonomous vehicle remotely if necessary.

Andrei Karmatsky, the head of Yandex's robotaxi department, explained that this marks the third stage of testing. The initial stage involved a test driver in the driver's seat, although they did not actively control the vehicle but remained ready to assume control in emergencies. In the second stage, the test driver moved to a passenger seat equipped with an emergency braking device.

“The final stage passes without a driver – the car is accompanied by another car with an operator who can halt the self-driving car remotely if needed,” Andrei Karmatsky, head of the company’s robotaxi department, said as cited by Prime.