Israeli gov't to fund autonomous car, smart transport projects

Autonomous car Photo: Reuters

The Ministry of Transport and the Israel Innovation Authority today announced the opening of aid request tracks for smart transportation pilot ventures.

The Ministry of Transport and the Israel Innovation Authority today announced the opening of aid request tracks for smart transportation pilot ventures. The government will offer an array of aid programs totaling NIS 100 million per year for pilots in various technological spheres. The amount of the transportation part now being published will be NIS 30 million a year. The program is for five years, although how much will be invested each year is unknown.

The transportation program, which was drawn up in cooperation with the Alternative Fuels and Smart Transportation Administration in the Prime Minister's Office, will help finance advanced testing requiring construction of facilities, use of vehicle fleets, fuel, and of course technological development. The companies taking part in are also likely to receive permission to deviate from the current regulatory restrictions and a tax exemption in certain cases.

Government sources report that many requests for tests have been received from industry and startups, many of which have been rejected up until now because of an inability to respond to them. These requests included requests for tests of autonomous and semi-autonomous driving technologies, among them new autonomous cars and accessory equipment for existing cars; new technologies and algorithms for regulating traffic; smart adaption of traffic lights management; fuel saving technologies; and use of environmentally friendly fuels.

Sources inform "Globes" that the IDF is also interested in transportation innovation and is negotiating to open IDF test fields for civilian tests in these areas that will accommodate trials under controlled conditions, as required by the world's major auto companies. The IDF will have immediate access to the most up-to-date technologies in the world. Among other things, this involves tests at the Israel Weapons Test and Evaluation Center (Shdema) site in the Negev and another test site in the Palmachim area in central Israel.

Tests will also be facilitated at several civilian sites, including the Dalton landing strip , which was converted to a motorcycle race track; the new race track in Beer Sheva, which also accommodates urban transportation simulations; Sde Teiman, which facilitates tests of drones and light aircraft, as well as smart vehicles; and the Arad landing strip, which was also recently converted to a race track. The startups will also be provided with new road segments not yet open to the public, such as the additional Ayalon Highway lane going north in the direct of Glilot Junction, and parking lots that will be closed for test periods. The possibility of turning spaces in kibbutzim, factories, and quarries into transportation test sites closed to the public is also under consideration.

The traffic control centers of the major cities will be used as additional test sites. The leaders in this area are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, and Beer Sheva, as well as Ashdod, which has been declared the test city in Israel for smart transportation, with tests already taking place there. The traffic control centers will allow tests by companies seeking to streamline traffic control and make it smarter and to integrate smart public transportation in order to relieve the transportation load in municipal transportation.

Israeli transportation technology companies can obtain monetary support up to 50% of their approved R&D costs in the framework of the program. 75% support will be given for a program with potential for extraordinary influence on streamlining and improving transportation. This track offers sharing of the risk incurred in the development process but does not require sharing of profits or future success. The supported company will repay the money it received from the Innovation Authority through royalties on sales, but only if the venture reaches the commercial stage.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on June 7, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

Autonomous car Photo: Reuters
Autonomous car Photo: Reuters
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