Russia’s Yandex Testing Self-Driving Car in Michigan

  • The Russian company Yandex has expanded the territory of testing self-driving cars of its own design.
  • The testing area chosen by the Yandex team is Ann Arbor, Michigan, home to the sprawling University of Michigan.
  • Yandex states the location is convenient, due to easy access to the myriad of roads.

This week, Yandex posted a video pertaining to their self driving cars being tested in the USA. Yandex, as mostly all Russian corporations are, is controlled by Russian President Putin and his team. In Russia, you can’t be successful, unless you are either supporting the Kremlin financially.

Yandex is a Russian multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related products and services, including transportation, search and information services, eCommerce, navigation, mobile applications, and online advertising. It is the largest technology company in Russia and the largest search engine on the Internet in Russian, with a market share of over 52%.

According to the video, the Russian company Yandex has expanded the territory of testing self-driving cars of its own design. In addition to Russia and Israel, where cars with autopilot are already being tested, similar equipment has appeared on US roads.

Furthermore, the testing area chosen by the Yandex team is Ann Arbor, Michigan, home to the sprawling University of Michigan, which is known for its research programs. Yandex states the location is convenient, due to easy access to the myriad of roads. It is also near Detroit.

Traffic rules in the United States differ from those in Europe. Here, you can find traffic lights with five light signals, and at unregulated intersections in some cases, the priority is given to the car that arrived first.

The vehicle with self driving technology is the Hyundai Sonata. The reason for such vehicle choice is the partnership between Yandex and Hyundai Mobis. In this model, the electronic control units of the car were modified by Hyundai Mobis engineers to interact more effectively with Yandex’s Autonomous driving technology. Russian engineers, in turn, improved the set of sensors.

Yandex’s goal was to test the self driving vehicles in different climate, traffic management, and legislation to create a wide variety of scenarios in which they test their Autonomous driving system. This way, they can get a universal technology that can be used anywhere in the world, Yandex noted.

A self-driving car, also known as an autonomous vehicle (AV), connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV), driverless car, robo-car, or robotic car, is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and moving safely with little or no human input.

The self driving technology can be a national security threat to the US. There was a report done on this subject by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The danger is self driving technology being used as a weapon to cause attacks and mass casualties.

For example, it could be programmed to drive into a crowd. It could also be used for surveillance purposes.  The information about the report was published by The Guardian.

The report States “that offenders will be able to use both hands and not follow the road, which is simply impossible today.” In one of the likely scenarios mentioned by the FBI, criminals fire from an autonomous car that itself leaves the scene of the crime.

“Autonomy will make mobility more effective, but it will also open up greater opportunities to turn the car into an even more deadly weapon than it is today,” the FBI believes. According to the Guardian, this wording reflects the fears of the security services that terrorists will be able to program Autonomous vehicles to deliver explosive devices to the target.

The US should not be allowing such activities, and while everyone is focused on the Coronavirus pandemic, Russia has fell under the radar in certain areas of scrutiny.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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