Israel earlier this year found itself in the strange situation of apparently overnight having become a major player in the car manufacturing industry. The $15 billion acquisition in March of autonomous driving, computer vision, company Mobileye by Intel raised awareness of the country's strides in the field of automotive high-tech, and according to industry experts ignited even more interest from investors.
"Mobileye was far from an outlier, it was just the first major example of Israeli innovation becoming very much desired by the global transportation industry," says Mike Granoff, CEO of Maniv, an Israel-based venture capital fund that exclusively invests in mobility.
The car industry is looking for innovation, with self- or assisted driving vehicles the holy grail. And, says Granoff: "At the center are technologies such as sensors, software, cyber and the like and these are areas in which Israel has already excelled. Israel has a head start in many of these areas."
Computer vision, machine learning, cybersecurity and semiconductors are some of the areas in which Israel is now competing in the autonomous driving race, for which Frost & Sullivan earlier this year estimated the global market by 2025 to be $83 billion. Here is a, very small, sample of some of the startups that are driving progress: