Driverless Trucks Honor SPIEF-2023

Russia stretches over 10,000 kilometers from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean and covers an area of 17.2 million square kilometer, equal to 57 Italian national territories.

On June 14, the starting day of the 26th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the first unmanned vehicles from the Kamaz plant will be launched on the M-11 Neva highway, between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

In recent years, the Kremlin has paid great attention to the development of innovative technologies as the main driving force behind Russia’s economic and social growth. Who would have thought that the stagnant Soviet Union, the largest grain importing country in the 70s and 80s, would become the world’s largest grain exporter at the beginning of the 21st century. Last year, the harvest of grain and leguminous crops set a new historical record – 157.7 million tons (of which 104.2 million tons were wheat). Despite Western sanctions, Russia managed to export 45.5 million tons of grain in 2022, of which about 60 million tons were exported in the agricultural year 2023.

The sanctions policy imposed on Russia by the West has accelerated the development of advanced technologies in many sectors of the Russian national economy. Innovation in a rapidly changing world will become one of the central topics of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the 26th edition of which will take place from June 14 to June 17, 2023. The main concept and slogan of the Forum this year will be “Sovereign development as the basis of a just world. Let’s join efforts in the name of future generations.”

In his welcoming address to the Forum participants, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote that “Russian business has done a lot to overcome the serious consequences of illegitimate sanctions.” While the global economy continues to slow down – in the first quarter of 2023, the eurozone even entered a technical recession – Russian GDP should increase by 1-2% this year and rise to 4% in 2024. Putin believes that in these difficult times, “we must make the most of every opportunity and focus on achieving technological and financial sovereignty, building optimal cooperation, improving infrastructure, reducing inequality and poverty.”

While Western institutions decided to boycott SPIEF 2023, numerous delegations from Asia, Africa, and Latin America arrived in St. Petersburg. The presence of participants from the Middle East this year will be very strong: the United Arab Emirates will be the guest of honor at SPIEF 2023. On June 12, Russia’s National Day, the Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world, was all night painted white, blue, and red – the colors of Russia’s national flag. In 2022, trade between the United Arab Emirates and Russia increased by 68 percent compared to the previous year.

After the successful test launch of unmanned taxis in Moscow, autonomous robotic driving began on June 14, in honor of SPIEF, on the M-11 Neva highway connecting the Russian capital with St. Petersburg. The project was implemented by large transport companies, including Gazpromneft, Globaltrak, and Avtodor, and trucks were produced by the KamAZ plant built in 1976 with the active participation of many Italian companies.