Yandex.Taxi

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Yandex.Taxi B.V.
Privately held company
Industry
  • Internet
  • Transportation
Founded26 October 2011
HeadquartersMoscow, Russia;
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Area served
Key people
Tigran Khudaverdyan (CEO)
Daniil Shuleyko (COO)
ProductsMobile apps, websites
ServicesRide-hailing, delivery
ParentYandex N.V.
Websitehttps://taxi.yandex.com/
Yandex.Taxi
Logo yandex taxi app.png
Developer(s)Yandex
Operating systemiOS, Android
Available inRussian, English, French, Chinese, Ukrainian, Armenian, Georgian, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Romanian, Serbian, Uzbek, Hebrew, Estonian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Finnish
Websitetaxi.yandex.com
Yandex.Taxi in Estonia

Yandex.Taxi (Russian: Яндекс.Такси) is an international IT company that operates ride-hailing and food tech businesses across Russia, CIS, Central Europe, the EU, Africa and the Middle East.[1] The company is among the world’s leading developers of self-driving technology.[2]

Yandex.Taxi was founded by Yandex N.V., a multinational company[3] incorporated in the Netherlands that operates a search engine, an Internet portal, and about 70 other online services in multiple countries.[4] Sometimes described as the «Russian Google,[5] Amazon, Uber and Spotify[6]», Yandex has been listed on the NASDAQ since 2011. The company focuses on developing machine learning-based technologies. Yandex.Taxi is a separate, private limited liability company within Yandex Group, incorporated in the Netherlands as Yandex.Taxi B.V.

The ride-hailing service is a key business for Yandex.Taxi so far, operating in more than 300 large cities across Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Serbia, Israel, Ivory Coast, and Finland. In the latter three countries, it operates under a brand called Yango. More than 36 million people have used the service since it launched. By September 2018, the number of total rides exceeded 1 billion.[7] More than 400,000[8] drivers are connected to the network.

The food tech arm of the company includes food delivery service Yandex.Eats and meal kit service Partiya Edi. As of December 2018, these services are only available in Russia.

Users interact with the company’s ride hailing and food tech services via mobile apps and online.

Tigran Khudaverdyan has run the company since 2014.

History[edit]

Yandex.Taxi launched in Moscow, Russia in 2011.[9] At the start of the project, it connected about 1,000 drivers from 11 taxi companies.

The service was first introduced as a mobile app for Android and iOS, and the site was launched on June 28, 2012.

In 2012, Yandex.Taxi started charging a commission on rides booked through its service.[9]

Tigran Khudaverdyan took charge of the service in 2014. He remained in charge when it spun off as a separate company in December 2015.

In June 2017, Yandex.Taxi released a video demonstrating its driverless car technology.[10] The prototype vehicle was a Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback equipped with an Nvidia GTX graphics processor and a LiDAR optical distance sensor by Velodyne.[11]

Businesses and operations merger with Uber[edit]

On July 13, 2017, Yandex.Taxi and Uber signed an agreement to merge their businesses and operations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The merger completed in February 2018. Yandex invested $100 million and Uber invested $225 million in the new structure. The new company had an estimated valuation of $3.8 billion.[12] According to estimates from different investment banks in December 2018, Yandex.Taxi’s market value has increased, varying between from $4.4 billion and $6.2 billion.[13] 59.3% of the consolidated company belongs to Yandex, and 36.6% belongs to Uber. The remaining 4.1% belongs to the employees. Tigran Khudaverdyan retained leadership of the consolidated company.

Food tech division[edit]

In December 2017, Yandex.Taxi purchased 100% shares of Foodfox,[14] a food delivery service in Moscow. After the merge of Uber and Yandex.Taxi in March 2018, Uber Eats and Foodfox combined their services to become Yandex.Eats. As of March 2019 the new company is represented in 24 cities throughout Russia, with more than 8000 restaurants on the platform. In December 2018 Yandex.Eats completed 1 million orders.[15]

In October 2018, Yandex.Taxi acquired another food tech company, a meal kit service[7] called Partiya Edi (Russian: «Партия еды») which operates in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

CES 2019

Driverless Taxi[edit]

Yandex has developed its own autonomous driverless cars for use as taxis. The first model available to the public is a heavily modified Toyota Prius with three lidar units, six radar units, and six cameras and a GNSS sensor for navigation, with Intel CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs using a Linux operating system.[16] On September 21, 2017, it was demonstrated for President Vladimir Putin.[17] On May 29, 2018, free demo rides were offered to the public at Yet Another Conference. Yandex reported that 700 passengers were given rides through the 10 hours of the demo.[18] In June of 2018, a long-distance test ride was accomplished for a distance of 780 km over about 11 hours, with the vehicle stated to have been operated autonomously for 99% of this trip.[19]

Taxi service was launched on a trial status in August 2018 in the university town of Innopolis in western Russia's Republic of Tatarstan. Service was free during this trial, and Yandex engineers remained in the cars as safety observers.[20] With success of the Innopoolis trial, Yandex initiated service at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in western Moscow in October of 2018. In November of 2018, it was reported that the company had given its 1000th self-driving passenger ride.[16]

In December 2018, the company got a permission from the Israeli Transport Ministry to test its driverless car on public roads without a human safety driver at the wheel. This makes Israel the third country where the company is testing its self-driving vehicle.[21]

The driverless car was presented to the international public at the CES 2019 in Las Vegas.[22] At the end of 2018, Yandex obtained a license[23] to use these vehicles on public roads in Nevada, one of the few American states where driverless cars are allowed. Unlike other prototypes demonstrated at the exhibition, the cars were circulating the streets of the city without any human control. There was no engineer at the wheel, only one in the passenger seat to take control of the car in case of emergency.

How it works (Yandex.Taxi/Yango)[edit]

When they open the app the first time, users create an account using a phone number. To request a ride via mobile app,[24][25] the user sets the destination address, the method of payment, and additional options like a children’s car seat or multiple stops.[26] The service identifies the user’s current location and finds the car in its network positioned to reach the user the fastest. Users can pay for rides with credit card,[27] cash, Google Pay,[28] Apple Pay,[29] or corporate account depending on which methods are available in a particular country.

Users rate their trips on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. These ratings affect the score for drivers and taxi companies alike. A driver can see his average rating, but not how any individual passenger rated him. High-scoring drivers receive orders first and low-rated drivers can be locked out of the service.

Features and technologies[edit]

To estimate a vehicle’s arrival time and the price of a ride, Yandex.Taxi uses two technologies developed by parent company Yandex: Yandex.Maps and Yandex.Navigator.[30] This technology calculates routes based on live and forecasted traffic conditions. The service can recommend a pick-up point near to a user’s location. Moving across the street may save time and money on the ride, for example.

Depending on the country, the price for a ride may be calculated with an automatic surcharge rate. This rate applies when the number of people in a certain area exceeds the number of available cars.

Since April 2017, riders know the price of their ride in advance. The price doesn’t change, even if the driver gets stuck in traffic jam or takes a detour. This feature is now available in almost every country where the service operates. In those countries where it isn’t, the app calculates an estimated price that may differ from the final price.

Safety[edit]

Yandex.Taxi works with partners who are authorized to provide transportation services. Depending on a country’s laws, these can be taxi companies, taxi stations, licensed carriers, individual entrepreneurs, or other legal entities who have appropriate permissions. The company engages drivers training to use the Taximeter mobile app and communicate properly with passengers. Those who successfully complete the training program get a higher rating, which is an advantage for receiving orders.

In November 2018, Yandex.Taxi announced a speed control project that’s currently implemented in Russia.[31] The system monitors a car’s speed and compares it to the speed limit marked in Yandex.Navigator, built in to a driver’s Taximeter app. If a driver exceeds the speed limit by 20km/h or more, he receives a warning. After receiving several warnings in a row, the driver will be temporarily discouraged from using a service. In case of repeated violations, the driver will be permanently blocked.

To ensure safety for passengers and drivers alike, Yandex.Taxi controls the amount of time drivers can spend working. After several hours of continuous work, they stop receiving orders until they have enough rest.[32] The company is working on a driver fatigue control system to decrease the number of road accidents caused by human factors. Yandex.Taxi is the only online car booking service with a system like this so far.

Global expansion (Yandex.Taxi/Yango)[edit]

As of January 2019, Yandex.Taxi operates in more than 300 large cities in Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Uzbekistan, Serbia, the Ivory Coast, Israel, and Finland.

In Belarus[edit]

The service launched on February 25, 2016.[33] It started in Minsk, but now operates in all six regional centers and multiple cities in the country. In March 2019 the service introduced an insurance product for riders and drivers connected to the service.[34]

In Armenia[edit]

Operating in 15 of its cities, Yandex.Taxi has one of its most visible presences in Armenia. It started operating in Yerevan on July 1, 2016.[35] In 2017, the service sponsored a computer programming school for high schoolers in Gyumri and Vanadzor.[36]

In Kazakhstan[edit]

Kazakhstan is one of the biggest international markets for Yandex.Taxi. Launched in the biggest city Almaty on July 28, 2016,[37] Yandex.Taxi was serving 20 cities by September 2018. On September 3, 2018, Yandex.Taxi introduced an insurance product for riders and drivers connected to the service.[38] Yandex.Taxi also provides corporate taxi services in Kazakhstan.

In Georgia[edit]

The launch in Georgia on August 28, 2016[39] was accompanied by scandals pertaining to another Yandex service, Yandex.Maps. The Russian version of Yandex.Maps marks the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries[40] while Georgian law defines these territories as parts of Georgia. Given that Yandex.Maps wasn’t localized for Georgia, everyone saw only the Russian version. Yandex.Taxi marked these territories to comply with Georgian law, unlike Yandex. Maps. Despite the update fact, many locals boycotted the new service. Yandex.Taxi continued operations and still works in present day, adding two more cities to its Georgian network: Batumi and Rustavi.[41]

In Ukraine[edit]

The Ukraine launch took place on October 25, 2016. By May 2017, the service was available in five cities. Seven months after the launch, Yandex.Taxi was banned in Ukraine along with all other Russian technology companies.[42] Despite the ban, Ukrainians still use the service via VPN. Yandex.Taxi does not receive any profit from the app in Ukraine.

In Kyrgyzstan[edit]

Kyrgyzstan is the second country in Central Asia for Yandex. Yandex.Taxi was launched on November 9, 2017 in Bishkek,[43] then later in Osh.

In Latvia[edit]

Latvia was the first Baltic country and the first EU member where Yandex.Taxi started operations. It launched on March 15, 2018.[44]

In Uzbekistan[edit]

Yandex.Taxi operates in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The service entered the local market on April 4, 2018.[45]

In Estonia[edit]

Estonia is the only Baltic country where Yandex.Taxi operates in two cities: Tallinn and Tartu. It launched in Tallinn on 1 May 2018.[46]

In Serbia[edit]

Serbia was the first country outside the former Soviet republics where Yandex.Taxi began operating. It launched in Belgrade on June 5, 2018.[47]

In Moldova[edit]

Yandex.Taxi launched in Chișinău on July 24, 2017.[48]

In Lithuania[edit]

Just after the Lithuanian launch of Yandex.Taxi on July 26, 2018, the country’s authorities warned citizens against using the service in order to protect their personal data.[49] Lithuania's National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) highlighted that "it is especially important that this app isn’t used on the devices of Lithuanian civil servants, officials, or national defense system employees."[50] Yandex.Taxi responded that it "processes and stores EU user data strictly according to EU regulations, GDPR in particular," and that the service is "open and ready for any necessary checks.."[51] Despite the NCSC’s accusations, authorities from two other Baltic states — Latvia and Estonia — did not speak out against Yandex.Taxi.[52]

Lithuanian authorities didn’t impose restrictions on the service, and Yandex.Taxi works without any restrictions in the capital city of Vilnius.

In the Ivory Coast[edit]

Yandex.Taxi launched under its new brand, Yango, on October 4, 2018 in Abidjan, the urban center of the Ivory Coast.[53] This was the first French-speaking country for the company, as well as its first on the African continent.

In Finland[edit]

Finland was the second country where Yandex.Taxi launched as Yango. The launch announcement was made on November 8, 2018, and the app started working the next day.[54] Shortly after launch, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense advised Finnish authorities to look closer at the new app because they believed it was transferring users data outside the EU.[55] The media published an article[56] analyzing different taxi booking apps and found that, Uber asks the most permissions of all apps operating in Finland. Yango came in second. But the app requires permissions like those of similar applications. The company which stated that it “works like other similar apps and does not collect any unnecessary data.” As a EU-based company, Yandex.Taxi highlighted that it complies with European legislation, the GDPR in particular.[57]

In Israel[edit]

Israel was the first Middle Eastern country for the company. The service launched as Yango on December 10, 2018.[58] Outside of launching the app, the company got permission from Israel’s Ministry of Transport to test Yandex driverless cars on the country’s roads.[21]

Financial results[edit]

Yandex.Taxi demonstrated negative profit from 2016 to 2018 as a result of entering a number of foreign countries, merging with Uber, marketing its ride hailing and food tech businesses. That loss decreased by 44% from 2017 to 2018.[59] In Q4 2018 reporting Yandex.Taxi announced it became profitable in Russia, its core market.[60]

2013[61] 2014[61] 2015[61] 2016[62] 2017[63] 2018[59]
Revenue, in RUB millions 112 327 984 2313 4891 19213
AdjustedEBITDA, in RUB millions 57 217 162 (2086) (7963) (4434)

Concerns[edit]

Yandex and US sanctions[edit]

On January 29, 2018[64] the United States Treasury Department issued a report listing senior political figures and oligarchs in Russia who are reportedly closely linked to the Russian government and hold certain political power. Yandex founder Arkadiy Volozh was named along with 95 Russian businessmen. The list was discredited[65] by virtue of copying the names of Russians on the 2017 billionaires list[66] by Forbes Magazine. This list should not be confused as sanctions: it hasn’t directly affected the business.[67] Arkadiy Volozh hasn’t been included in any country’s list of personal or business sanctions.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  17. ^ Russia: Putin tests Yandex ‘driverless’ car in Moscow (Ruptly YouTube channel, published Sep 21, 2017, access date Dec 23, 2018)
    Video description includes: "Russian President Vladimir Putin got the first glimpse of a new driverless car technology on Thursday, at the Yandex headquarters in Moscow."
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External links[edit]