Europe's first driverless taxi service was launched in Russia.
The autonomous taxi fleet is operated by Yandex, a Russian search engine that has many of the same services as Google, including automotive vehicles, electronic commerce and a voice activated artificial intelligence assistant.
Yandex has launched its pilot project for the driverless fleet in the new city of Innopolis, which is being developed as a "high-tech city" in the Republic of Tatarstan.
The taxi service transports passengers between five designated stops, including stops at the city's university, the sports stadium and popular local apartment blocks.
The service will be free for passengers during the test and Yandex will have an engineer inside the cabin at all times to ensure safety in case the system fails.
Automotive companies around the world are working hard to develop their own self-driving cars without driver, however, this is the first time that autonomous vehicles have been available to test them in the area and travel on public roads in Europe.
In the photo is the Yandex self-steering taxi that is available to reserve today. The autonomous vehicle is designed and operated by the Russian equivalent of Google. The latest trials are taking place in the new city of Innopolis, which is located in the Republic of Tatarstan, in western Russia.
The autonomous cabins have been designed to adapt to other road users, giving way to other vehicles and pedestrians, and even making emergency stops if necessary.
The service is operating free of charge for passengers during the test.
Yandex has confirmed that the engineers will be inside the vehicle at all times during the test period to monitor the system and guarantee safety in case of failure.
Around 100 people have already registered to participate as passengers in the trials.
If successful, Yandex plans to deploy the service more extensively.
"Our Yandex self-taught team plans to further expand the autonomous service to include more destinations, additional vehicles and eliminate the security driver, in addition to improving the service based on user comments," said a spokesman for the Moscow office. . said the company.
Governments often doubt about putting cars without a driver on the roads because the technologies are still actively developing.
The United Kingdom has four cities that currently allow trials on the road, while France and Israel only allow case-by-case testing.
However, these services are not currently open to members of the public.
The taxi service transports passengers between five designated taxis, which include the city's university, sports stadium and apartment blocks
Car companies around the world are developing their own automatic cars without a driver, but it is believed that this is the first time they operate on public roads in Europe.
Innopolis, which is currently a technology park with city status, is developing as a "high tech city"
Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the region, signed the agreement with Yandex to make Innopolis the testing ground for the new futuristic service.
Minnikhanov, one of the first to test the service, said: "Autonomous taxis are safer.
I can drive a car professionally and, therefore, I can evaluate it.
"The system works very well, the way the car turns, breaks, is very safe and pleasant."
Innopolis was initially established as a technology park in 2012, with a focus on supporting high-tech industries.
Innopolis was established as a technology park in 2012, with a focus on supporting high-tech industries
Around 100 people have registered to participate as passengers in the trials. If it is successful, the next step will be to deploy the service more extensively
However, later it was granted the city status and there are plans in progress to develop the area in several stages, spread over 120 hectares, with a university that serves as a central focal point.
The services of autonomous taxis have already been tested in other parts of the world.
The US firm NuTonomy launched a driverless car service in Singapore in 2016, while Uber and Google's sister company, Waymo, are testing similar schemes in California, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Texas.
An autonomous taxi service is also being tested in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, with a view to extending it more extensively in time for the 2020 Olympic Games.
HOW THE CARS & # 39; VE VEHICLE?
The cars that drive often use a combination of normal two-dimensional cameras and units & # 39; LiDAR & # 39; sensitive to depth to recognize the world that surrounds them.
In LiDAR scanning (light and range detection), which is used by Waymo, one or more lasers send short pulses, which are recovered when they hit an obstacle.
These sensors constantly scan the surrounding areas for information, acting as the "eyes" of the car.
While units provide depth information, their low resolution makes it difficult to detect small and distant objects without the help of a normal camera linked to it in real time.
In November of last year, Apple revealed details of its driverless car system that uses lasers to detect pedestrians and cyclists from a distance.
Apple researchers said they were able to obtain "very encouraging results" by detecting pedestrians and cyclists with only LiDAR data.
They also wrote that they were able to overcome other approaches to detect three-dimensional objects that use only LiDAR.
Other cars without drivers generally depend on a combination of cameras, sensors and lasers.
An example is Volvo's self-directed cars that have around 28 cameras, sensors and lasers.
A computer network processes information that, together with GPS, generates a real-time map of mobile and stationary objects in the environment.
Twelve ultrasonic sensors around the car are used to identify objects near the vehicle and are compatible with autonomous driving at low speeds.
A radar wave and a camera placed on the windshield reads traffic signals and the curvature of the road and can detect objects on the road, like other road users.
Four radars behind the front and rear bumpers also locate objects.
Two long-range bumper radars are used to detect fast-moving vehicles approaching from far behind, which is useful on motorways.
Four cameras, two in the exterior mirrors, one in the grid and one in the rear bumper, monitor the objects that are very close to the vehicle and the lane markings.