By Gleb Stolyarov
ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Yandex.Drive, the car-sharing firm owned by Russian internet group Yandex, will launch a platform to customers that can be used to operate their own vehicle fleets, the company's head of e-commerce and ride-tech business said.
The new platform, which has been tested on a Yandex.Drive fleet of about 16,000 vehicles, would be offered to taxi companies, freight operators and logistics firms around the globe, Daniil Shuleiko told Reuters.
"I think that this will be a very significant share in the revenue of the (car-sharing) service," Shuleiko said.
Revenue in the taxi business jumped 89% year on year to 26.6 billion roubles ($369 million) in the first quarter, while Yandex.Drive revenue amounted to 2.5 billion roubles.
The platform monitors vehicle movements, providing driving profiles and identifying dangerous driving. It also helps predict emergency situations and forecasts fuel consumption.
Yandex also plans to spend $500 million on expanding its Yandex.Market market place and food delivery from grocery stores this year alone, expecting the e-commerce boom to continue, Shuleiko said. The figure does not include delivery from restaurants.
"We are focused on fast and aggressive growth... and expect to switch to profitability in e-commerce in a couple of years from now," he said.
($1 = 72.0175 roubles)
(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Anna Rzhevkina and Katya Golubkova,; Editing by Jason Neely, Edmund Blair, Kirsten Donovan)