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Russian innovation is not for Russia
The Far East is experiencing the world's best unmanned bus, but at home, it will not find applications
One of these days on the campus of the Far Eastern Federal University on the island of Russian will begin to test an unmanned bus. He was made near Volgograd, in the company of Volgabas, and was taken to Vladivostok. And at the university, in turn, prepare the site. The exact date of the beginning of the tests is still unknown, "not everything depends on us," EastRussia told the company Volgobas.
Earlier Volgobas tested its products on the territory of the innovative park in Skolkovo. And the inhabitants of St. Petersburg could see him during the parade of retro technology. True, they were then ruled by a driver. Showed him and in Moscow during the celebration of the 870 anniversary of the capital. The bus "Matryoshka" (so called development) was waiting for the Eastern Economic Forum, but it did not appear there. I reached the Far East only now.
But why pull the test bus so far? It's simple: Far Eastern University was interested in the novelty and, it seems, he considers it not as a curiosity, but as a practical thing. The university is going to carry students on these buses on campus, "because there are huge distances," they say in Volgobas, and they make it clear that the relationship with the university can go further than between the seller and the buyer. It is a question of long-term cooperation. But it is too early to talk about this, the bus should be tested first.
WHILE EXPENSIVE, BUT ALREADY SAFE
The Volgograd bus is a turnkey product, not only the vehicle itself, equipped with artificial intelligence, but also the control room, where it is controlled, and the trained personnel. Director of the company Alexey Bakulin says that while his car is 20% more expensive than an ordinary bus, and costs 9 million. But everything changes very quickly, just a year ago, such machines cost 20 million. Bakulin says that soon buses without a driver will be cheaper than ordinary interest buses for 30-40. And they are safer, because artificial intelligence is smarter than any driver, I'm sure Bakulin.
But his confidence is not shared by the authorities. The law prohibits unmanned vehicles from taking to the streets - if something happens, it is not clear who to punish. The absence of a regulatory framework is a serious brake on the introduction of unmanned vehicles, we are confident in the Agency for Strategic Initiatives (it actively supports the development). Bakulin says that if the necessary laws are not adopted by 2019, Russia will start to fall behind.
In the Far Eastern University are going to organize "departure of the bus in a situation that maximally imitates the real". In Volgobas they do not want to say yet how it will look: just the bus can not be rolled out on the street according to the law, but if passers-by and others know that a drone is going, and all this will be on the test site, this will not be a serious argument to convince officials in its safety. It is known that for about a year there have been unmanned vehicles driving through the streets of Moscow, but this happens at night and not quite legally. Probably, the Volga bus will also go to "real" conditions at night.
EXPORT OUR ALL
Already next year Volgobas will be ready to supply buses to the market, however, because of the underdevelopment of the legislation, Russia is not yet able to accept them. But the company is not going to wait until the State Duma ripens. "We are considering export, our developments have been successfully demonstrated at the exhibition in Frankfurt," the company says. Thus, the first Russian unmanned buses, which, according to experts, are no worse, and in some respects better than the well-known cars of Google and Tesla, will not find applications in their homeland yet. The situation is very similar to any other, related to innovation. Thus, director of the "young professionals" ASI Dmitry Peskov recently complained on another occasion: "We admit as one of the world leaders in other countries, and only within the country we are trying to cram into a mossy system of unnecessary regulation."
One can safely assume that China will be the first export destination. It is for this reason, probably, the buses decided to run in the Far East. But officially the parties do not recognize this. Bakulin himself earlier promised to supply at least one hundred vehicles to Iran, Tanzania, Gambia and the UAE until the end of 2017.
Meanwhile, in the USA, where unmanned vehicles are already working in a taxi with might and main (and managed to get into a few accidents), experts talk about the imminent urban revolution that this novelty will bring with it. Specialists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a recent study argue that in the center of the city no one will live. Americans are already trying to settle in the suburbs, where the quality of life is high, but when driving will cease to be your concern, this process will become an avalanche-like character. The collapse of prices for urban residential real estate is expected, and growth is on a suburban level. "Passengers will be able to do their own business - to work or even to rest - already during the trip. Autonomous vehicles can significantly increase the distance, which people are ready to overcome, "the study says. In combination with the technologies of sharing transport (karshering), these processes will make the streets of cities deserted. Troubles await parking lot owners - they will be in demand far from the current scale.
RUSSIA: BIG EXPECTATIONS
Unmanned vehicles in Russia are developed from 2015 year. But the main events happened in this sector in 2017 year. President of Russia Vladimir Putin, speaking at the All-Russian forum of professional navigation "Projector", called for the speedy development of the regulatory framework. "UAVs are important everywhere, the scope of their application is unlimited," the president said. "We still have a lot to do in order to improve the legal and regulatory basis for the use of unmanned vehicles."
In August, Kazan aircraft designers presented an unmanned aerial cargo platform of vertical take-off, and in Moscow, in the “Caliber” technology park, a testing area appeared without a driver.
The development of roads for drones was announced by Avtodor. The main players on the market, in addition to Volgobas, are Cognitive Technologies (the company introduced an unmanned harvester), and RosElectronics Holding of Rostek State Corporation, Yandex (in May the prototype of an unmanned taxi is presented), KAMAZ (invested more than 900 million rubles) transport company Traft.
Large events are expected in 2018 year: the commission on radio frequencies promises to legalize the "windows" on the air for communication between cars, and the Ministry of Communications intends to test the networks of 5G in unmanned vehicles.
According to a study by Gemalto, 49% of the polled Russians would like to purchase unmanned equipment and believe that they will be able to make this purchase within the next ten years.
WHAT IN THE WORLD?
Today, according to Json & Partners, there are 330 in thousands of cars without pilots in the world, by 2020, they will be almost 2 million, by 2035, 30,4 million. Thus, marketers view this market as one of the fastest growing. The market will get the main growth starting from 2025, when major automakers, and especially Chinese, will start to launch autonomously 3 class cars (complete self-government). As expected, by 2020, Tesla, which is now perceived as the industry leader in the mass consciousness, will begin to lose its dominant position. Chinese manufacturers will go ahead, after 2025, every third car without a driver will be produced in China. The main drivers of sales will be US and EU consumers. Marketers and industrialists view unmanned vehicles as a “big thing,” that is, the most important element of the market, before smartphones were such a “big thing”. Intel estimates drone market volume with related industries in 7 trillions of dollars by 2050 year.
The Western countries are looking for the solution of legislative problems to the touch, but there are concrete solutions already, it is about improving them. In the US, the movement of such cars is authorized by the states, for example, in New York, for the sake of unmanned vehicles, the law of 1971 was repealed, according to which the driver must hold at least one hand on the handlebars. In September, Congress approved a federal bill. The document sets a quota - 25 thousand cars this year, and already 100 thousand in the next. Now the document is being considered by the Senate. Everything is happening very quickly: although more than a dozen states have allowed drones, formally manufacturers must undergo tedious licensing procedures at the National Traffic Safety Administration. At the same time, recently a drones crossed the border of the USA and Canada, using a special permit. That is, while the Senate does not approve the document, it can be stated that in the US, legislation lags behind reality. And in Europe, the European Commission is still only developing a framework law on drone.