Russian driverless tech company Cognitive Pilot sets sights on IPO

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian technology start-up Cognitive Pilot, which makes components for driverless vehicles, is considering an initial public offering (IPO) after 2023, its chief executive told Reuters.

The company has already attracted investment from top Russian lender Sberbank, which has bought a 30% stake, though it gave no indication on a valuation of the business.

Cognitive Pilot develops components for self-driving cars as well as autonomous control systems for agricultural machinery, trains and trams. It lists state rail operator Russian Railways, farming conglomerate Rusagro and South Korean auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis among its clients.

“The first IPOs in this sector will be highly successful. It’s important not to sleep through the moment,” Chief Executive Olga Uskova said.

“So if before we weren’t even thinking about an IPO, now we really are considering it.”

After 2023 Cognitive Pilot will either launch an IPO or announce a new round of investment, Uskova added.

With large tech companies and automakers developing and testing autonomous vehicles, including Russia’s Yandex and Google parent Alphabet, Cognitive Pilot is looking to increase capacity and mass-produce its technologies.

However, it is likely to face strong competition from leading carmakers such as General Motors, Toyota and Tesla, which are working on developing in-house technology for autonomous vehicle systems.

In the first half of this year Cognitive Pilot plans to open offices in China, the United States and Brazil, where it has several agricultural clients.

Cognitive Pilot currently operates a plant in Tomsk, Siberia, where it produces radar technology used in self-driving systems.

Writing by Polina Ivanova; Editing by David Goodman