KAMAZ, the largest Russian manufacturer of commercial vehicles, together with domestic software developer CognitiveTechnologies, has launched a project to construct an unmanned vehicle. The two companies are planning to submit a valid test model in June 2015, reported CEO of CognitiveTechnologies Olga Uskova to RIA Novosti. The potential volume of investment in the project, which is open to third-party investors, is estimated at 12 billion rubles (US$180 million).
The government, represented by the Ministry of Education, has allocated 300 million rubles (US$4.5 million) for the creation of an unmanned KAMAZ. Last year, the Ministry held a competition under the federal target program “Research and Development in Priority Areas of the Scientific and Technological Complex of Russia for 2014-2020”. CognitiveTechnologies won the competition, and will begin work on a module that allows for unmanned vehicle control, including during difficult weather conditions and in the absence of road signs.
According to the terms of the contest, another 90 million rubles (US$1.3 million) will be invested in the project by KAMAZ, said the Head of the automaker’s press service, Oleg Afanasyev. According to Afanasyev, the company analyzed the potential demand for unmanned trucks in the oil and gas sector, agriculture and housing, and came to the conclusion that it is sufficiently high.
To launch an unmanned KAMAZ into commercial operation, it is necessary to change the current law. Amendments to the law are planned for 2017, but, at the same time, the roads of Tatarstan should see the pilot project begin soon.
According to Director of the Department of Metallurgy, Machine Tools and Heavy Machinery for the Industry and Trade Ministry, Alexey Mikheyev, a safe system of autonomous control will allow, in the majority of cases, to solve problems with numerous road accidents and fatalities. Every year in Russia, more than 2,000 people are killed on the roads due to accidents caused by truck transport.