What obstacles stand in the way of launching unmanned transportation systems in Russian cities?

Two powerful drivers are pushing for unmanned transportation system launches. Firstly, an economic one - unmanned vehicles will reduce both personnel costs and the human impact factor. Secondly, a political one - for example, the announced launch by 2024 of the unmanned freight corridor on the Moscow-St. Petersburg highway will accelerate the testing and implementation of V2X technology.

However, there are also several significant barriers. Up to this point, no single standard for unmanned driving has evolved in Russia. Companies that, apart from piloting V2X technology on testing grounds, are already implementing it in a real city environment, must therefore become important players on the IT platforms necessary for the launch of unmanned transportation systems.

In 2020, we created a V2X pilot zone in St. Petersburg and tested seven scenarios for interaction among motorists, pedestrians and road infrastructure items in a big city environment.  

A persistent lack of up-to-date data on road and transport infrastructure facilities remains yet another barrier obstructing the launch of unmanned driving. We need to create a digital twin of the mobility system, and Russian companies have all the required technology to do so. 

Russian developers have already created and tested all the technology needed for infrastructure implementation. For example, the Digital Roads company (part of the Urbantech Group) offers a kind of technology for digitising and creating a virtual model of the road infrastructure. It enables the amount of data to be reduced and subsequently be analysed by the on-board computer of an unmanned vehicle, thus increasing data processing speed.