DMITRY POLISCHUK Yandex

Yandex

Dmitry Polishchuk

Head of Self-Driving Cars, Yandex

Dmitry Polishchuk is a veteran of Yandex, the Russian internet giant that essentially equates to Amazon, Google, and Uber all in one, rivaling Silicon Valley on everything from AI assistants, to search, to shopping, to ride hailing.

Polishchuk started 12 years ago at Yandex as a mobile-services developer, and then moved to the firm’s Maps division, then oversaw the Yandex Browser and its mobile distribution.

It was Polishchuk who eventually pitched the idea of a self-driving-car division to Yandex’s leadership in 2016, coinciding with similar experiments in the US at Google, Uber, and a number of autonomous vehicle startups. “And even being a relative newcomer, Yandex with its great talents and rich technological base could try to join the race,” Polishchuk tells Business Insider.

Development on a self-driving vehicle began in 2017, resulting in a prototype a few months later. “At the end of the year we began our tests on public roads, and half a year later we launched Europe’s first robotaxi service with no one behind the wheel.”

For Polishchuk, it’s a joy to see the combination of technologies required to make autonomous vehicles work. “It involves in-depth understanding of all the components of this versatile technology, as well as staying on the cutting-edge of research,” he says.

His hope is to see Yandex’s self-driving cars safely “roam the streets of Moscow” in rush hour within three to five years.