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Israel Drives Smart Transportation Toward the Future at EcoMotion 2018

Car interior with digital interface on blurry bokeh background. Double exposure

In the not so distant future, no one will likely own a car – rather, we will be picked up by self-driving vehicles ordered via an app, which will stop to pick up others on swift routes determined by computer algorithms. Accidents, pollution and gridlock will be drastically reduced.

Indeed, our transportation sector is in the midst of an innovation revolution, with autonomous vehicle development, connected car technologies, and the mobility as a service (MaaS) movement poised to remake urban environments and redefine the experience of how we get from place to place.

Israel, a small country that does not manufacture a single car, is fast becoming the world’s laboratory for significant transportation innovations, propelling smart transportation forward with world-class research centers, entrepreneurialism, and public investment.

On May 23, an estimated 2,000 people will convene in Tel Aviv for EcoMotion’s 6th Main Event, where industry thought leaders will tackle key topics and trends in mobility, and over 100 Israeli startups will showcase how they’re solving some of the automotive sector’s biggest challenges.

A selection of the startups exhibiting at EcoMotion’s May 23rd event underscores the diverse range of cutting-edge transportation innovation taking place in Israel:

  • As today’s connected cars become ever more dependent on software, Argus Cyber Security’s technology protects private and commercial vehicles from cyberattacks. Researchers first demonstrated in 2015 that it’s possible to remotely take control of a vehicle’s operations, and Argus aims to thwart similar threats while allowing drivers to benefit from connected car technologies.
  • Leveraging deep learning and artificial intelligence, Nexar provides real-time alerts to prevent road collisions by utilizing smartphone cameras and sensors to ensure safer roads for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians and creating the world’s largest vehicle-to-vehicle network.
  • Operating on the principle that public transportation has a vital role to play in the mobility ecosystem of the future – with two-thirds of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by 2050 – Optibus aims to ensure public transit’s vibrancy and tech-savviness with a suite of offerings, including software that allows transit managers to optimize fleets, reduce costs, and improve on-time performance.
  • Amid escalating cyber threats worldwide, Cylus has developed the only cybersecurity solution tailored to the specific needs of railways, with technology that takes into account the unique connected technologies on which the rails rely. Led by former senior officers in the IDF’s Elite Intelligence Corps, the company is moving at full steam to ensure that critical infrastructure is equipped for modern threats.

While the entrepreneurs and technologists behind such companies reflect the spirit of the Start-Up Nation, the public sector has also played a pivotal role in facilitating transportation innovation to establish Israel as a hub of advanced transportation solutions. The Israel Innovation Authority subsidizes startups’ R&D expenses up to 75 percent while connecting new companies to investors and potential partners. National government investment in R&D accounts for 4.2 percent of GDP in Israel, far outpacing the OECD average of 2.3 percent.

One other example of the type of public-private partnerships that help accelerate Israeli innovation is the port city of Ashdod, which has partnered with entities including Mobileye, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Microsoft to create the Living Lab, a project accelerating the development of smart transportation systems for smart cities, including digitized control systems, data collection, and congestion reduction.

Israel’s fast lane to automotive innovation has also attracted top multinational firms to the country. Capitalizing on Israel’s favorable investment climate, its highly educated workforce, and collaborative, innovative culture, leading automotive companies like General Motors and Daimler have set up R&D centers in Israel, while other tech giants seeking to wade into the mobility revolution have also looked to Israel. A prime example was Intel’s 2017 acquisition of Mobileye, the developer of computer vision for advanced driver assistance systems, for $15.3 billion.

As the world grapples with the challenges posed by increased urbanization – from congestion to pollution to infrastructure security – Israel’s smart transportation is already in high gear, delivering solutions that will unlock the full potential of the mobility revolution.

For more information on how Israel’s hi-tech scene is helping innovate our world, please visit https://itrade.gov.il/thailand or contact Economic and Trade Mission to Thailand at 02-204-2041.