Yandex is testing an autonomous delivery rover in Moscow
Yandex’s autonomous ambitions extend beyond the automotive domain. The Moscow-based company today announced that its self-driving division responsible for developing, testing, and deploying its driverless vehicle fleet is piloting a robot dubbed Yandex.Rover that can deliver small packages autonomously.
Yandex’s six-wheel rover, which is roughly the size of a small suitcase, taps some of the tech at the core of Yandex’s self-driving cars to travel safely “at the speed of a pedestrian.” It’s capable of navigating around obstacles in all weather conditions during daylight or darkness, but in the area where it’s currently deployed the over 7,000-person Yandex headquarters in Moscow Yandex says its activities are monitored by a remote operator.
Yandex expects the rover will eventually deliver food as a part of its Yandex.Eats platform, as well as groceries from Yandex.Lavka. The rover might also make its way into the ecommerce platform Beru for order fulfillment and delivery, Yandex says, or into Yandex’s ecommerce warehouses and datacenters to transport cargo.
Yandex is far from the only company vying for a slice of the segment, which counts among its ranks well-funded startups like Marble, Nuro, Robomart, Boxbot, FedEx, Postmates, Dispatch, and Robby. Earlier this year, Amazon rolled out its Scout robots to parts of Southern California, expanding the tech giant’s pilot program from Snohomish County, Washington. In August, Starship Technologies nabbed $40 million to further expand its footprint, which spans hundreds of university and corporate campuses.
Yandex appears cognizant of this activity and is leaving the door open for other companies to use its rover for “a range of shipping and delivery needs.”