Yandex Self-Driving Group Partners with GrubHub to bring Robotic Delivery to College Campuses

Russian tech giant Yandex Self-Driving Group, a publicly traded unit of Yandex, has announced a partnership with Food Distribution Services Group, a multi-year robotics supplier on the American College campus. According to Dmitry Polishchuk, chief executive of Yandex Self-Driving, the fall is expected to reach more than 250 campuses by the end of the partnership. Last September, Yandex’s self-driving unit came out of a joint venture with Uber. In May of this year, the company reported that it had adopted a total of one 7 million autonomous miles, more than Wyoming at the time.

Yandex has been developing full-size autonomous vehicle technology since 2017, tested in Tel Aviv, Israel and Ann Arbor, Michigan and Russia’s Inopolis through its fleet of robotaxi. The company launched the first six-wheeled, 150-pound robot, Yandex.Rover, last April in Skolkovo, Russia, publicly using a stack of self-driving technology like the company’s autonomous vehicle. “The technology is certainly complex, but we see that it has already reached the stage when it can start deploying in the form of delivery robots or robotaxi services in small towns or certain districts of big cities,” a spokesman told TechCrunch.

“We believe that in three to four years the technology will reach a stage where the car is safe and can drive efficiently like an experienced human driver during rush hour in the center of cities like Moscow or New York.” Yandex’s approach to commercialization is unique. “Of all the companies developing autonomous technology for automobiles, Yandex is the first to market its robots,” said a spokesman. It took us two years to get the idea,” he said. The robots have already been tried and tested commercially in Russia through the food delivery platform Yandex.ats and the express grocery delivery platform Yandex Lavkar.

According to a statement from the company, Yandex.Rovers, which travels at speeds of three to five miles per hour, can move sidewalks, pedestrian areas and crosswalks. They are ideal for areas that are not accessible by car on campus, and the service has already been fully integrated into the Gruhab app. In terms of user experience, once the rover reaches its destination, the customer receives a push notification and comes out to open the robot’s hatch via the app.