The dynamic Auto Tech approach
The dynamic Auto Tech approach
No review of Israel’s High Tech can be complete without the Auto Tech branch. It’s a dynamic and growing part of the whole innovation effort. In what way is it making its mark?
There may not yet be a local market for Auto Tech, but this hasn’t stopped Israel from developing remarkable innovations in the field. Israel is considered to be one of Auto Tech’s three main R&D hubs – alongside Silicon Valley and the companies around German auto makers.
Hundreds of start-ups are targeting the potential in this field. On the more developed level, there are already around 380 companies with direct involvement in Auto Tech. Their funding status ranges from Pre-Seed to Established. There are 6 main sectors and 31 sub-sectors in Auto Tech.
According to the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility (MCFM), total investment in this field since 2010 has exceeded $18 billion. This places Israel in the middle – behind the USA and China but ahead of Germany and Japan. Currently 10 out of 15 leading auto manufacturers have set up local offices here for R&D and innovation scouting.
The main strengths
The sector focuses mainly on technologies for autonomous driving, as well as auto cyber security and telematics. Based on Israel’s powerful position in software and IT, the emphasis is on ‘Smart Mobility’ – determining how vehicles will be controlled and how people can exploit their usage as non-owners.
Some examples are: enabling vehicles to be self-defending against cyber attack; protecting passengers with advanced laser sensors; coordinating traffic lights for a 40% saving in commute time; embedding technology into road infrastructure.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
Israel is a late-comer to this field. The majority of attention until now has been invested on the electro-chemistry (EV battery) side of alternative fuel research. Nevertheless, a number of research labs in universities are now progressing along the Hydrogen/Fuel Cell track. One of these is the Hydrogen Technologies Research Laboratory (HTRL) at the Technion.
There are also startups such as Electriq-Global that are developing an innovative hydrogen carrier to offset some of the challenges with compressed hydrogen.
Where is the catalyst?
The main reason why Israel places such emphasis on Auto Tech is because road congestion is rapidly approaching chronic levels. It is already three times higher than the average in small European countries. A hugely upgraded public transport system, combined with fewer cars on the road and more ride-sharing is the only answer.
The issues of Smart Mobility and Auto Tech have constant Government support. Dr Anat Bonshtien is the Chairman and Director of the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative at the Prime Minister’s Office. Seven years ago she initiated ECOMOTION, a non-profit organization, with the purpose of building a smart transportation community. Today it has become the central focus, leading and supporting many Auto Tech initiatives and events.
What Israelis now desire is to see Auto Tech become ‘mainstream government policy’ – with strong incentives to encourage a move to smarter and more sustainable transport choices.
Dr Bonshtien is hopeful: “We’re working hard so that Israel is not just a leading development center for Auto Tech but can also become a valuable Test Market for its innovations.”
These are just a few of the insights into Israel’s fascinating Auto Tech industry. KEYZUNA is close to this industry. Let us help you, our Japanese visitors, to identify the most suitable Israeli innovators for your specific needs.