Silicon Wadi, the home for mobility tech around Tel Aviv
Silicon Wadi, that’s the nickname given to the area around Tel Aviv that boasts a high concentration of high-technology companies and start-ups, many of which are active in mobility. These don’t only settle in Tel Aviv because of the fantastic weather and progressive ambiance.
So what makes Tel Aviv, and Israel more in general, the ideal breeding ground to develop innovative technology?
An oft-cited reason is military training, which is compulsory for all Israeli boys and girls (with the exception of Arab citizens). “This training inspires in young entrepreneurs an anti-hierarchical culture which fuels creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit,” according to Stephen Marshall, a writer for The Times of Israel. In Israeli society as a whole and definitely also in business, the lack of inhibitions to challenge established facts and practices can be refreshing.
In some cases, technology that was developed for military purposes (another important Israeli industry, in light of the geopolitical context), turn out to have another use in the broader economy. UVeye, for instance, provides an automatic 360° vehicle scan that detects damage to vehicles. Originally, this system was designed to detect explosive devices attached to cars but today it is being marketed as a tool large fleets can use to assess damages to vehicles.
The start-up scene is also helped by the high-quality education system and flexible immigration policies that help attract talent from across the globe.
The list of Israeli companies and start-ups that have been acquired by multinational giants is impressive. Mobileye was bought by Intel in 2017. Continental acquired Argus Cyber Security. Samsung, Delphi Automotive and Magna International collectively invested $82 million in lidar start-up Innoviz Technologies. Waze was taken over by Google. A wide variety of other companies set up labs or campuses in the country.
These companies may not only be the most visible ones from a consumer point of view, but the probability that your car is equipped with Israeli technology, is quite high.
Here are three examples of interesting start-ups in the fields of e-mobility, autonomous mobility and smart mobility.
E-mobility: fold your car
How can you solve parking, one of the biggest challenges of urban driving? City Transformer (pictured below) say the answer lies in folding your car. They developed a small electric city car that has a normal width while driving but that can be folded to no larger than a motorbike for parking. Not on the market yet.
Autonomous mobility: train your autonomous vehicle
Cognata claims it can shave years off the time and budget required to bring an autonomous vehicle to market by using computer-generated city images built on deep learning.
Smart Mobility: maximise fleet usage
Most vehicles spend more time idling than driving. Fleetonomy provides AI-based solutions to maximise fleet usage and enhance efficiency. The system can help large fleets with demand prediction, vehicle assignment and fleet redistribution.