Russian internet giant Yandex tests delivery robot
Russia’s leading internet technology company Yandex has started road testing an autonomous delivery robot for small-size cargos, initially in Moscow.
Called Yandex.Rover, the suitcase-sized vehicle can autonomously navigate its route along on city sidewalks at a walking pace. A number of Yandex.Rovers are already on the road at the group’s headquarters, carrying small packages between office buildings and a company bus stop.
The rover moves completely autonomously, albeit under remote supervision for the duration of testing. It can recognize objects, plan the route, stop for pedestrians or animals, and avoid obstacles. Thanks to its lidar, it can confidently move even in the dark.
According to the Russian group, the robot could fit seamlessly fit into its ecosystem of services in future. For example, it could deliver orders for the restaurant delivery service Yandex.Eats, groceries for local grocery delivery service Yandex.Lavka, goods for online marketplace Beru, or operate in the company’s warehouses.
Following the testing period, Yandex.Rover might become available for other companies to purchase.
“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.”