Yandex, a technology company that builds intelligent products and services powered by machine learning, has started road testing an autonomous delivery robot for small-size cargos. Called Yandex.Rover after a space exploration device, a suitcase-sized vehicle can autonomously navigate the way along its route on city sidewalks at a walking pace.
A number of Yandex.Rovers are already on the road, carrying small packages on the premises of the Yandex headquarters in Moscow between the office and the stop of the company’s bus that connects all other Yandex offices in the city. The rover moves completely autonomously, albeit under remote supervision for the duration of testing. It can recognise objects, plan the route, stop for pedestrians or animals, and avoid obstacles. Thanks to its LiDAR, it can confidently move even in the dark.
“Yandex.Rover utilises our achievements in self-driving,” said 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.”
Moving forward, Yandex.Rover may seamlessly fit into the Yandex ecosystem. It can be delivering orders for restaurant delivery service Yandex.Eats, groceries for local grocery delivery service Yandex.Lavka, goods for online marketplace Beru, or operating across the company’s warehouses. Following the testing period, Yandex.Rover might become available for other companies to purchase.