“In the coming years, the first unmanned route for sea vessels will be launched”

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In the coming years, an unmanned route for sea vessels may be launched in Russia… Dmitry Peskov, Special Representative of the President of Russia for Digital and Technological Development, spoke about this in an interview with Izvestia. He also shared that in 8-10 years a reliable system of hybrid education will be created, which is a combination of the traditional teaching model and distance learning. In addition, Dmitry Peskov spoke about the possibilities for creating covid passports, combating data leaks and providing high-speed Internet for all residents of Russia.

The pre-installation of domestic software on smartphones has now begun. From your point of view, can this case be called successful and complete?

It seems to me that for most people, nothing has changed much. I know that there were several cases when a manufacturer installed a Yandex application that could not be removed. Then the company announced that it was against such a violent installation and asked to make this software removable anyway. This policy is very sensible. If the end user wants to, it will uninstall the programs. But someone will try, leave, start using them. As a result, the share of high-quality domestic applications on the Russian market will grow, while foreign companies will lose a little. I hope that Yandex’s share in search will increase, while Google’s share will decrease. But it is too early to judge the success or failure of the case. The main thing is that its implementation is proceeding calmly, without much worries.

Yandex application on a smartphone

Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Bednyakov

– From your point of view, is it worth introducing “vaccine passports” in Russia?

– We already have today on the portal of public services in the personal account of each citizen, information about vaccination is saved… Accordingly, if you have this data, then you can provide them in English when crossing the border with other countries… It means that some functionality that can be called covid passports already exists… In addition, after being vaccinated, the person receives a certificate of vaccination. As soon as an agreement is reached at the intergovernmental level that these data are verified when entering another country, they will be accepted in much the same way as a driver’s license.… As we know, an international driving license is convenient.

– The pandemic clearly demonstrated the need for the development of digital technologies. When will they be available anywhere in the country?

– Within the framework of national projects, we are pulling cable communication and fiber optic, it already reaches small villages, schools, and paramedic and obstetric centers. Our coverage of territories with cellular communications with data transmission technologies is also growing very quickly. But of course a number of territories are not yet connected. According to Russian Post estimates, this is up to 32 million people. But in the next few years they will have access to fast internet… And it is fundamentally important for us that this access is accompanied by the possibility of fast delivery of goods and transportation. However, the existing ground-based technologies will never be able to put an end to transport connectivity, so it is fundamentally important for us to dramatically increase the satellite constellation. And such projects as “Sphere”, “Sky”, just solve this problem. By the way, it is important to have time to complete these projects while there is still enough space in space. It is dangerous to use foreign satellites – you don’t want someone in another country to decide which settlement can be disconnected from communication or reduce the speed of the Internet… For remote areas, there should be fast, cheap and stable internet from space. Then the task of digital connectivity of the country will be finally completed.

Unmanned passenger electric bus Sh.A.T.L.  in Kazan

Unmanned passenger electric bus Sh.A.T.L. in Kazan

Photo: TASS / Egor Aleev

– The satellites will solve the communication problem. And what will solve the problem of fast delivery and transportation?

– First of all, this is due to the use of drones in three areas – in the air, on the water and on the ground. Our technological developments have reached the stage where they begin to turn into serious economic and logistic systems. We will deal with this within the framework of the Archipelago-2021 Forum. There we will select teams that will implement projects in various areas of technology. In particular, they will become design the development of Russia’s first unmanned track for commercial transport trucks… Part of it will pass along the route Moscow – St. Petersburg, but then the route will be continued.

– What other untapped opportunities in transport logistics are there?

In the coming years, the first unmanned route for sea vessels should be constantly launched. Last year, an experiment was carried out in which control systems were installed on a variety of operating ships. They went on a variety of routes – in the Arctic Ocean, in the Black and Azov seas. A permanent route will soon appear, along which vessels will regularly sail in unmanned mode. One of the possible routes is St. Petersburg – Kaliningrad. But the final decision has not yet been made. It can also be the Far Eastern routes. It is necessary to put the rivers into transport operation – we have a huge potential in the form of river logistics.

– We discussed land and water. How about air?

Flying drones are already going into trial operation… The first attempts by past Russian Post teams to use drones to deliver mail drew laughter from the public. However, the new leadership draws conclusions from all these stories, takes the issue much more seriously. In closed mode, we have already had a lot of air delivery experiments. I think that in our country too in the next few years, there will be several dozen routes associated specifically with the unmanned delivery of transport cargo… These are all tasks, the fulfillment of which will form a fundamentally different image of the country’s transport system.

Internet connection

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

– Now in Russia the theme of the sovereign Runet is developing. What is the reason for the activity in this direction?

– The developed countries of the world are now implementing a scenario called islandization. They are beginning to spread sovereignty over the digital space, building their information infrastructures. Data sovereignty becomes a necessary element of any state, as well as its army, customs, national currency and everything else.

– In terms of the development of a sovereign Internet, are we following the path of China?

– Our state, of course, takes into account the world experience, but our measures, I think, are much softer. There is a search for a balance and acceptable models for us between American, European and Chinese approaches. But myself the “islandization” scenario is inevitable, if only for unmanned vehicles to drive in the direction we need in the future, and not in the direction indicated by unknown persons… And definitely other countries should not have access to either management or information about what is included in the critical infrastructure… For example, to nuclear power plants.

– Is there a plan to deal with data breaches?

It is necessary to make sure that the data belongs to a person and he has control over it… This cannot be done in all sectors at once. We propose to study this issue in the automotive industry. Now a draft law on automotive data is underway, which assumes that car owners have appropriate interfaces on their phones, where they see what data is generated by their car, gain control over it, and decide what to do with it. If we talk about the general features of solving information security problems, the following can be noted. The state must determine the general rules by which it itself, the citizen and commercial companies exchange data. What data their owner cannot transfer to anyone, and what data a person disposes freely and can even sell them. You should also decide on the information that the state has the right to use without the knowledge of the person. Commercial companies, of course, should not have free access to user data. Now this kind of rule does not exist in Russia. We live in a period of digital anarchy.


Photo: Izvestia / Alexander Kazakov

– It is impossible not to recall the chaos that was happening during the forced transition to distance learning for schoolchildren. Will a high-quality distance education system be created?

– There is hope that The Ministry of Education will soon show us a reliable system of hybrid education (a combination of conventional and distance education), which they are creating together with the publishing house “Prosveshchenie”, with the company Mail.ru and Rostelecom.… However, in order to develop a full-fledged system of supplementing conventional distance learning it will take at least 8-10 years.