Russian tech company Yandex came to Michigan with the hopes of showcasing its autonomous-driving systems during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Those plans changed amid the pandemic, and continue to do so.
Even after the show was canceled, Yandex intended to make the Motor City its home base for testing in North America. But the company said Thursday its long-term U.S. fleet instead would locate down the road.
Yandex will run its operations out of nearby Ann Arbor, which has established itself as a regional destination for autonomous testing. The University of Michigan's Mcity test facility was the world's first purpose-built AV proving ground. Self-driving shuttle company May Mobility is headquartered in the city, about 45 miles west of Detroit. Delivery bots operated by Refraction AI have roamed bike lanes along city streets.
With a fleet of Toyota Prius V and recently launched Hyundai Sonata test mules, Yandex has already taken things further. Last month, the company began testing in Ann Arbor with no human safety drivers aboard. A video released by Yandex shows the vehicles driving through the heart of the University of Michigan's campus and downtown.