Russian tech giant celebrates ‘Europe’s first’ driverless car

The final stage of a pilot project by Yandex is testing fully autonomous vehicles

Yandex has announced the launch of Europe’s first fully autonomous vehicle, which operates without a driver or controller in the passenger seat, Russian media reported on Wednesday.

The driverless cars are undergoing tests in Innopolis, a campus town in Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, Yandex was quoted as saying. The company added that the tests are the first of their kind in Europe.

The self-driving cars are accompanied by another vehicle with an operator on board who has a remote control in case of emergency, the statement said. According to the company, it is the third and final stage of a pilot program for a self-driving taxi service.

Earlier this year, Yandex launched robotaxis in the Black Sea resort of Sochi and a district of Moscow, although a safety driver is required inside the vehicle.

Yandex has been developing its autonomous vehicle pilot program since 2018. Innopolis, a settlement built as an innovation hub, has served as its main testing ground. According to the company, local residents have so far made over 77,000 trips in its robotaxis, covering over a million kilometers.

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