Yandex begins public tests of its self-driving cars in Russia

Its ride-hailing service is operating in the city of Innopolis.

Russia's Yandex has taken its self-driving efforts one step further, launching an autonomous ride-hailing service in the university city of Innopolis, Russia. The company claims it's the first such service to launch in Europe. For now, there will be two self-driving vehicles in operation and they'll provide rides to specific locations, such as the university, the stadium and residential blocks, for free. A safety engineer will ride in the passenger seat and around 100 people have agreed to test the service.

Yandex unveiled a prototype of its self-driving Prius last year. The company says that in the future, it plans to expand its driverless ride-hailing service, adding more destinations and vehicles and removing the safety rider.