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Digest about AI in Russia: top news of September

October 12, 2020|
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The US-UK alliance on AI, the prospects for unmanned vehicles in Russia, the focus on road safety and other topics - ICT.Moscow has collected the most significant topics of September about artificial intelligence from @ict_moscow_ai telegram feed in one digest.


New Alliance in AI

At the end of September, the United States and the United Kingdom signed a declaration on cooperation in artificial intelligence. According to the declaration, cooperation involves the joint development of the economy and healthcare, improving the quality of life of citizens, joint development and research in artificial intelligence and the creation of a technology ecosystem that will stimulate innovation by integrating AI into the economy.

ICT.Moscow asked AI experts what could change for the industry, including the Russian segment, after the declaration was signed. Executives and managers of AI companies have a rather positive view of the declaration: such alliances stimulate research and promote development, which has a positive impact on the market. The authors of the Russian Concept for the Regulation of AI and Robotics note that this is not the first document of such kind, and Russia should also engage in similar cross-country partnerships.

According to preliminary data of the poll in the telegram-feed, more than one third of the respondents believe that the signing of the declaration between the United States and the United Kingdom will not affect the Russian IT industry. A quarter of the respondents think there are barriers to the sale of Russian developments in foreign markets, and even more than 15% believe that such an initiative can hinder the development of the technology in general. Thus, industry representatives’ views of the new initiative are rather negative or neutral.

Read more expert opinions on the signing of the declaration on cooperation in the special material of ICT.Moscow

Route for autonomous vehicles was built

Autonomous vehicles were notable in the AI ​​landscape in September. At the beginning of September Yandex and Sberbank (now called “Sber”) came into the spotlight. With a difference of several hours both companies announced that their autonomous vehicles departments would be spun off into separate companies - Yandex Self-Driving Group (SDG) and Sber Automotive Technologies.

In September, the topic of unmanned control systems for rail transport was actively discussed. Trains with artificial intelligence are already being tested by Russian Railways, and the Ministry of Transport is looking for a developer of a standard computer vision system (according to the plan, the technology will already be ready in December this year). The Moscow Department for Transport has announced plans to test unmanned trams (Yandex will be responsible for the development of the technology), and to use unmanned vehicles as parkons, which will automatically monitor compliance with parking rules in Moscow.

Autonomous vehicles segment is also being developed in other types of transport. At the end of the month, several ministries and relevant departments approved a draft decree of the Russian government on testing autonomous sea vessels. And Gazprom Neft continues to introduce unmanned technologies: the company’s unmanned helicopter was tested in the Arctic for delivering cargo to oil fields.

Roads will become safer

Another piece of news about autonomous vehicles is dedicated to road safety control. In the first half of September, the testing of an autonomous air monitoring system for road safety was launched. Within six months, the drones will fly over the M-4 Don highway under the control of the operator, and then the system will operate autonomously.

Glonass-BDD uses computer vision technologies for other tasks, in particular, for digitizing Russian roads. By analyzing the data from the driving video recorders, the system evaluates various road characteristics and makes recommendations for improving safety on specific road sections. So far, 3 thousand kilometers of Russian roads have already been digitized.

Healthcare industry is confident in AI

Artificial intelligence in the Russian healthcare is growing steadily. The number of medical images analyzed in clinics in September exceeded 300 thousand. It took less than two months, while the first 150 thousand images were processed within three months (from April to July).

Also, in early September, the first AI system for analyzing medical images from Celsus company was included in the register of domestic software. This will allow the developer to implement the solution in government medical institutions.

Meanwhile, doctors are getting accustomed to using artificial intelligence in everyday tasks. The STC group (Speech Technology Center), which analyzes the level of doctors’ trust in the system for filling out medical documents by voice, claims that there is a significant increase in this indicator. A month after the launch of the corresponding project in Moscow medical institutions 40% of doctors were skeptical about the technology, but after three months the percentage of doctors who were skeptical decreased to 6%.

The AI ​landscape in Moscow is expanding

In addition to autonomous vehicles and healthcare, AI is being developed in other areas in Moscow. For example, in education: at the beginning of the month, students of the State University of Management tested the Examus online exam control system, which analyzes the student’s behavior in the video frame, can determine student absence, and is also able to recognize voices of other people in the room.

According to the Moscow Department for Transport and Road Infrastructure, security cameras installed in metro cars will monitor the train load and transmit this information to city mobile applications, so that users will be able to choose less crowded subway cars.

Visa launched a voice payment service created on the Yandex.Dialogs platform in 32 restaurants and cafes of Moscow. Its is intended to reduce contacts between visitors and waiters: using the system, customers can contactlessly order food and drinks, pay for them and leave a tip.

Watching the progress

In September, the stories about the success of Russian AI developers and startup founders, including the stories about the successful development abroad, appeared in the media. For example, MedTech-AI startup Deep Longevity led by Russian developer and entrepreneur Alexander Zhavoronkov joined the Hong Kong corporation Regent Pacific just a few weeks after the launch, the deal amounted to $3.79 million, and Oleg Stavitsky’s Berlin-based startup Endel raised $5 million from investors.

Moscow-based NtechLab also raised $13 million  from RDIF and several foreign funds for future developments in the field of computer vision. The developments of the company are already being used in the Moscow city video surveillance system, and at the end of September it was announced that they would be scaled to 10 other cities, including Nizhny Novgorod.

The government also decided to support the development of Russian AI startups. Mikhail Mishustin says that over the next four years, a total of$92.2 million  will be allocated to 1200 startups.

In terms of wins in the competitions, it is important to mention the first place of the team from ITMO University in two stages of international competition organized by PMI Science. The scientists have developed the most efficient AI system for diagnosing inflammatory disorders.

In September the results of two Russian contests - “Best Russian Social Projects” and “Innovator of Moscow” - were summarized. The winner of the first competition was Beorg Smart Vision platform, which is used for crowdsourcing in corporations. Care Mentor AI, MONQ and SearchInform ProfileCenter were recognized as the best innovators from Moscow in the field of artificial intelligence.

Original (in Russian)

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