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Autonomous Cars Create ‘Huge’ Opportunity for Israeli Tech, Report Says

Mobileye provides technology in the area of software algorithms that could enable autonomous cars. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

The car manufacturing industry is undergoing a huge transformation after having been free of significant disruptions for about 100 years, since the first mass-manufactured car was marketed by Ford Corp. in 1903.

The first change is the replacement of the internal combustion engine, the workhorse that has powered cars since the early twentieth century, with an electric engine. A continuous increase in the production and purchase of electric vehicles is to be expected over coming years, a 2017 report by Israel’s Innovation Authority published on Monday said.

The second change is the autonomous vehicle revolution, which will push the world to transfer the driving of cars from humans to machines and bring a “dawn of a new transportation age,” the report said. Most car manufacturers have set the early 2020s as the target for entering the market with cars that will drive autonomously 90-95 percent of the time.

A regulatory environment must be developed, however, to enable the mass marketing of autonomous vehicles. Several countries have already created supportive regulation for the experimental stages of autonomous cars, most noticeably California, the report said. However, there is still no legal framework for the commercial operation of autonomous vehicles. Legislators, including those in Israel, will need to set out guidelines that define safety and manufacturing standards and licensing, insurance and traffic laws.

Autonomous vehicles are expected to be safer and shorten travel time by optimizing routes to reduce traffic congestion, and the travel experience is expected to be enhanced, the report said. Travel costs are also expected to decrease dramatically, mainly as consumers will switch from privately owned cars to pools of autonomous vehicles that will compete with each other in efficiency and quality.

“The dramatic changes in the global motor vehicle industry and in the world of mobility offer many opportunities for new players from additional fields to join the transportation industry and shape the revolution,” the report said.

To read more of this article from The Times of Israel, please click here.