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This autonomous vehicle can carry six passengers. SberAutoTech, a subsidiary of Russia’s largest lender Sberbank, has developed a self-driving vehicle, Flip, which the company describes as a “taxi of the future.” Sberbank is diversifying in areas ranging from food delivery and taxi services to cloud computing and cyber security, and has made technological strides, last year unveiling a new virtual assistant, smart speaker and other gadgets.

Flip is the size of a conventional passenger car but with space for six passengers, SberAutoTech said. It has met the maximum requirement of international automated driving standards, but so far has only been tested on closed tracks. 

Replaceable batteries power the vehicle’s electric motor, but it can also harness the power of alternative fuels such as natural gas and hydrogen, SberAutoTech said. “The company’s know-how is the battery layout, which allows for all modules to be replaced in no more than five minutes, comparable to refilling a standard car with traditional fuel,” the company said.

“The flexible architecture of SberAutoTech’s self-driving technology will enable us to roll out solutions across a variety of verticals, such as freight transport, last mile, and taxis,” said Sberbank chief technology officer David Rafalovksy. 

Russian market leader Yandex has already tested 1 000s of driverless hours in Russian cities and abroad, while its driverless robot buggies have started delivering restaurant meals in Moscow.