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MOSCOW, June 7. /TASS/. The first commercial cargo shipment by a driverless truck in Russia will be carried out in August on a highway linking Russia’s two biggest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, the head of the Traft shipping company told TASS.
"We don’t know exactly who the client will be, we are in talks on the issue at the moment. But it will be a totally commercial cargo shipment," said Artur Muradyan, whose company Traft will become the first official contractor for a cargo shipment by an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).
The test will involve the existing prototypes of UGV by either Kamaz and or GAZ, loaded with real commercial cargo. The Russian Highways State Company (Avtodor) will provide for a testing ground and infrastructure. The test will be carried out in cooperation with the traffic police, the transport ministry and other state bodies.
In order to complete the delivery, a 30-kilometer stretch of the M-11 federal highway will be closed for traffic during the test. The driverless truck will be accompanied by a convoy of an ordinary truck and two vehicles with Avtodor experts. An emergency operator, who will have the right to interfere if anything goes wrong, will be on duty in the UGV’s cabin.
The test will be completed once an automated system notifies the head office of Traft of a successful delivery to a client in St. Petersburg.
Russia’s first prototype of a driverless vehicle was built in 2015 on the basis of the Kamaz-5350 truck. The vehicle can follow the designated route without human control. Its artificial intelligence system is able read road markings and traffic signs and identify other drivers and pedestrians.
Kamaz chief Sergei Kokogin earlier said that about 7 billion rubles are to be invested by the state and private companies into UGV projects this year. Russian-made driverless vehicles expected to appear on the global market by 2025.
Kamaz expects to invest about 400 million rubles in the project in 2017.
According to a survey conducted by Cognitive Technologies, about 56% of Russians and 68% of US citizens are ready to use UGV technologies. The survey was conducted among 33,000 respondents in Russia and 7,000 in the United States.