After Mobileye has proven its Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) capabilities for cars, another Israeli company INTSITE is pioneering similar systems for heavy mechanical engineering equipment such as excavators and trucks. To this end, INTSITE has reached a collaboration agreement with Japanese company Komatsu, the world's second largest manufacturer of heavy-machinery, after US company Caterpillar. The collaboration is being undertaken with five different projects, making Komatsu INTSITE’s biggest customer.
INTSITE is also in talks with Komatsu over a commercial agreement, which would see INTSITE’s systems embedded into Komatsu's heavy equipment. This collaboration will not grant the Japanese company exclusivity, so that INTSITE will not be prevented from associating with other companies, through similar collaborations. For example, INTSITE recently began working with the world’s seventh largest heavy-machinery manufacturer.
INTSITE was founded in 2018 by twin brothers Tzach, a civil engineer and Mor Ram-On (36), an aerospace engineer who previously worked for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The ADAS that the company has developed is based on image processing using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze real-time photographic data for heavy equipment, such as excavators, bulldozers, and various types of trucks.
The systems developed by INTSITE serve two aims: creating and improving safety for the users of the equipment, mainly the drivers, and all those within their close proximity (preventing the equipment from turning over, preventing damage to the equipment and workers in close vicinity to the machinery, identifying the distance from dangerous cliffs, and the like); and creating and increasing operational efficiency for the company’s management, which is responsible for the equipment, or the mine (for example reducing the time for loading dirt, identifying anomalies and bottlenecks during mining work and more).
From its outset, INTSITE focused on the development of systems based on artificial intelligence designed to make cranes, one of the most important and dangerous pieces of equipment on construction sites, autonomous, while also at the same time developing the aforementioned ADAS systems. One year ago, following a strategic shift, the company decided to focus exclusively on ADAS systems for heavy-machinery, allowing the company to move up a gear in its business development. According to INTSITE, the advantage of the system that it has developed is that it can be connected to any analog camera and that it does not require the installations of other expensive lidar systems and sensors.
To date INTSITE has raised $2 million in a seed round and it recently closed a similar sum in another round. In contrast to companies that raise very large financing rounds, INTSITE has remained in stealth, with its financing rounds, due to a creative business model that enables it to create positive cash flow and not to have to rely on large scale external financing. Among the angels who have invested in the company is Andrey Yashunsky, founder of the Prytek Group, which has invested in more than 30 companies in Israel from its corporate venture capital fund.
The company has 10 employees, with a lean and operationally efficient expenditure structure. INTSITE plans to use the funds from its latest financing round to hire sales staff this year, mainly to expand its operations in Europe and Asia. Apart from Japan, the company’s systems are operating in countries like Thailand, the UK, Germany, and Denmark. Following the expansion of its activities, INTSITE expects a significant increase in revenue in 2023 and 2024.
The growing global need for ADAS systems in heavy-machinery stems from a lack of efficiency in these machines, which has become a bottleneck in production processes (mainly in mining and construction processes). This same lack of efficiency stems mainly from the difficulty in monitoring machinery like this, and the fact that such machinery operates over areas covering thousands of acres. In addition, machinery operators are restricted in their ability to be aware of everything that is going on around the equipment. Furthermore, some mining and construction sites in Asia and Australia are located in remote places and are not connected to any kind of communications network. As soon as a work accident occurs, or a delay in mining or construction work takes place, the company operating the site has difficulties in being informed about what is happening in real time, thus the system saves the unnecessary expenses incurred during work stoppage time.
A collaboration agreement was recently signed between the company and New Feldman, which is part of the Tiferet Holdings Group. New Feldman represents the world’s leading mechanical engineering manufacturers including GEHL, Komatsu and Zoomlion and also imports and markets agricultural equipment from New Holland and Fiat unit Case. As part of this cooperation, New Feldman will equip its overall fleet of equipment with INTSITE systems.
As well as Tzach Ram-On, who serves as CEO, INTSITE’s management includes senior executives from the world of heavy-equipment such as Alan Berger, a former SVP - Technology for vehicle giant Volvo and a member of the Caterpillar board of directors.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 16, 2022.
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