As Israel observes Hanukkah – a celebration of the light among the darkness – it’s time to highlight the tech trends creating sparks within the Startup Nation.

Note, these trends are based on our deal flow – what our team sees on the ground.

Trend 7/8: Autonomous Driving

How a trend is born: 

Cars are the single most complex consumer product in the world. While the combustion engine and large-scale, production-line manufacturing of the late 19th century helped make cars more ubiquitous, at large we have yet to see how the true power of the Digital Revolution, new fuel and propulsion technologies, innovative business models, new material technologies and advances in safety features will drive innovation forward and help bring about the car of the future.

What’s causing the traffic jams of innovation? For one, road traffic accidents are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide according to the World Health Organization. This is reason enough that advancement in the automotive industry can be excruciatingly slow. Think of it this way – the more electronics there are in a car, the easier the car is to hack, potentially putting lives at risk, not something a global auto manufacturer wants to be known for. Environmental impact is a huge concern too – it’s no secret that auto emissions cause pollution that can lead to disease as well as immense damage to wildlife.

Zero to 60 in just a few short years? Just imagine: a smart, self-driving, self-parking car that, equipped with a wealth of sensors and communications equipment, can potentially make auto accidents a thing of the past. Battery-powered vehicles, hydrogen cars and other biofuels will lead to better efficiency and a huge reduction in environmental damage. The cutting edge of autonomous driving is not as far fetched as we might think – most major car manufactures estimate to have some form of a semi-autonomous car commercially available by 2020, sensing its environment and driving without human input.

Who’s who: 

Israel, known for being the forefront of cutting-edge technologies in numerous fields, has also become a hub of innovative transportation solutions.

  • Mobileye: Mobileye is a pioneer and leader in the development of vision-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), providing data for applications such as Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Headway Monitoring, Pedestrian Detection, Intelligent Headlamp Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Adaptive Cruise Control and more.
  • BNC Systems: A private technology R&D firm, BNC Systems specializes in automotive-technology development of infotainment & navigation platforms. Their technology enables new apps, hardware and software to be retrofitted into your car’s console without harming driving safety or the security of the system.
  • AutoTalks: AutoTalks is a fabless semiconductor company that develops vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology. Recently, it produced the world’s first automotive-grade chipset ready for series-production.
  • VocalZoom: OurCrowd’s portfolio company VocalZoom developed an “optical microphone” technology that enables high quality voice communication and voice recognition in any environment. The company is in partnership with a top-tier auto manufacturer to commercialize its technology for use in cars.

What’s next:

According to the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, there are over 150 Israeli companies exporting close to $1 billion to the global automotive industry.

Uri Pachter of the institute says, “The fact that Israel has a very large and vast supplier base without having any real manufacturing facility is quite unique. I know of only one or two other countries in the world that have the same situation… Lightweight materials that by lessening the weight of the vehicle can lower fuel consumption and emissions, vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, night-vision, software that can predict malfunctions in advance, new battery solutions. The automotive industry is very interested to know what are the physiological factors and parameters of the drivers, so in a case where a driver suddenly has a rise in his blood pressure they will receive a notice and will be able to send an alert to the driver.”


Check back with us each night of Hanukkah to learn about another tech trend sparking the Startup Nation!

Find out more about investment opportunities in Israeli startups.

Thanks to OurCrowd’s Etan Efrati for contributing to this piece.