Today, the Russian internet giant Yandex revealed its fourth-generation self-driving car, a collaboration with Hyundai. This generation brings Yandex tech to the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. By the end of this year, Yandex plans to add 100 Sonatas to its self-driving fleet, which includes a robo-taxi service in Innopolis, Russia, and vehicles in Michigan.
As part of the upgrades, Hyundai’s Mobis team modified the Sonata’s electric control units to interface more effectively with Yandex’s self-driving control tech. For its part, Yandex improved the cameras, radars and lidar. Engineers added three additional cameras with different focal lengths, moved the radar system from beneath the bumpers to the roof and repositioned the front fender lidars to provide a wider, overlapping field of view. Yandex says these changes make it easier for the vehicle to “see” pedestrians and vehicles in tricky situations, like when they’re exiting an alley or driveway, or turning onto a busy street.
Yandex unveiled its first self-driving car in 2017. Until now, its fleet was primarily built on the Toyota Prius. Yandex has made a point of testing its tech in areas that experience heavy snowfall, not just in warm, sunny climates.
Hyundai has also partnered with Aptiv to develop self-driving vehicles. But the automaker recently faced what could be a setback. In April, the NHTSA issued a recall for the 2020 Sonata and Nexo cars due to a glitch in the Remote Smart Parking Assist feature. The automaker says the glitch is “extremely rare,” so it’s hard to say if this will delay any self-driving plans or features.