Russia’s SberAutoTech unveils FLIP; Promises next-level autonomous vehicle

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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SberAutoTech, a subsidiary of Russia’s largest lender Sberbank, has developed FLIP, a fully autonomous vehicle that the firm described as a “taxi of the future”.

Sberbank is expanding into new areas such as food delivery and taxi services to cloud computing and cybersecurity. The bank has also made technological strides, releasing a new virtual assistant, smart speaker, and other devices last year.

According to SberAutoTech, FLIP is the size of a conventional passenger car but can accommodate six people.

It has met the highest international autonomous driving standards but has only been tested on closed tracks thus far.

SberAutoTech did not reveal how much money it had put into the project, nor did it provide any information regarding prices, suppliers, or the estimated production timeline.

The vehicle’s electric motor is powered by replaceable batteries, but it can also harness the power of alternative fuels like natural gas and hydrogen, according to SberAutoTech.

“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.

Mr. David Rafalovksy Chief Technology Officer Sberbank remarked that “the flexible architecture of SberAutoTech’s self-driving technology will enable us to roll out solutions across a variety of verticals, like freight transport, last mile, and taxis.”

The curved shape, which has no discernible front or rear, is reminiscent of the flying vehicles from the Soviet TV series “Guest from the Future” from 1985, which were also known as “Flip.”

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

Related: Tesla to ditch radar sensors and rely on Autopilots in some models