With autonomous driving proceeding in the slow lane, the mobility sector has swung its headlights to electric vehicles. Public transport, private cars and bikes, and personal aircraft are transporting us to a green future, but sourcing the power, storing it, and protecting it is a big hurdle. Automotive Industries reviews mobility innovation at the OC Summit to share how start-up technologies are overcoming it.
The OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, the largest investor event in the Middle East, was held on February15th, 2023 in Jerusalem, Israel. Last held in 2020, this year’s conference, which marked its 10th anniversary, had more than 9,000 people from over 81 countries participating.
This year’s summit saw cutting-edge technologies that aim to save the planet and individual lives, being in focus. Israeli president Isaac Herzog was a speaker at the opening plenary session of the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit. He spoke on the Israeli judicial reform debate, asking all sides to come together and reach a compromise. “I think the same way you see the innovative spirit of the State of Israel, you also see it in this debate and I am very proud of my brothers and sisters ‒ the Israelis taking an active role in the debate from all of its sides. All I can say about myself is that I’m doing my best to direct this debate into a constructive dialogue that will lead to an agreed-upon result that will strengthen, and foster, and protect Israeli democracy,” he said.
The Summit began with a joint press conference on the Abraham Accords. OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved said, “The Middle East is coming together today at the OurCrowd Summit with large delegations from the UAE, Morocco, and more countries from the region. The presence of dozens of startups, investors, and government officials from these and other countries represents a huge vote of confidence in the future. The Abraham Accords are now facilitating significant progress on technology, business, and investment between Israel and its Arab neighbors and we are proud to be playing a catalyzing and facilitating role in this remarkable development.”
OurCrowd Arabia Chairman Dr. Sabah al-Binali said, “This is the first time that the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit hosts major delegations from the UAE and the Gulf region and we are very pleased to have such strong representation in attendance. This is testament to the growing commercial ties between the countries and I look forward to developing this further as we build out OurCrowd’s business in the UAE and across the Middle East.”
At the Summit, members of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Hub71, Abu Dhabi Residents Office (ADRO) and more than eight other entities hosted The Abu Dhabi Pavilion showcasing business and investment opportunities in the emirate. A sizable number of investors, entrepreneurs and other business leaders from the UAE and other MENA countries were also in attendance, including DIFC, which is home to more than 60 percent of all FinTech firms operating in the GCC.
Speaking during his keynote address, Acting Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi said, “Abu Dhabi believes in the power of partnership to drive innovation and support sustainable investment opportunities. Following the success of companies like OurCrowd in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi’s ability to move quickly and support growth is drawing interest from across Israel’s startup ecosystem. ADIO looks forward to continuing the conversations started during the OurCrowd Summit and working with more innovative Israeli companies to explore Abu Dhabi’s limitless investment possibilities.”
OurCrowd, which describes itself as the world’s leading online venture investing platform, has over USD 2.1 billion in commitments, has deployed capital into 380 portfolio companies and 42 funds globally. One of the companies displaying its technology at this year’s Summit, was AIR, creator of eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft for the consumer market. The company announced that its inaugural vehicle, AIR ONE, has successfully completed its first full forward flight, perfectly transitioning from hover to cruise.
Following this latest milestone, AIR plans to transfer the bulk of its operations and R&D to the United States, where further flight testing, development, and ongoing certification collaboration with the FAA will continue. Leading up to the full transition flight testing, AIR completed multiple successful and extensive propulsion tests and performed a series of necessary electronic and stability tests prior to AIR ONE’s first forward flight, which served as an important proof of concept “It is thrilling to have reached this moment in our journey as we strive to build the foundation to make personal air mobility a reality,” said Rani Plaut, CEO and co-founder of AIR. “AIR is incredibly proud to play a role in the global AAM movement, and we’re looking forward and upward to 2024 when adoption of privately-owned eVTOLs takes flight.”
Another firm at the conference was Autobrains, an Israeli growth-stage software company that provides perception products for ADAS and fully autonomous driving with dramatically superior performance and lower compute requirements vs. market standard. “The immense success of this most recent funding round demonstrates that Autobrains is a key player in leading the future of mobility which will be powered by AI,” said Karl-Thomas Neumann, Autobrains’ Chairman. “It’s invigorating to see the degree in which our self-learning AI solutions to ADAS and autonomous driving are transforming the next generation of mobility to create real automation.”
C2A Security, a leading provider of automated cybersecurity solutions for connected, autonomous, and electric vehicles, created EVSec – Cybersecurity DevOps platform. This platform was built to automate the compliance process for current and emerging cybersecurity standards and regulations. Japanese information technology giant NTT Data and Italian auto components producer Marelli will use the electric vehicle (EV) security platform created by C2A Security at NTT’s new Global Automotive Security Test Centre in Italy. “Electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure present cybersecurity challenges to OEMs, suppliers, charging station operators and many other stakeholders in this vast ecosystem,” said Roy Fridman, CEO of C2A Security in a December 2022 press release.
Another innovative firm at the Summit was CorrActions, a neuroscience based, software only, driver monitoring company. OEMs and Tier I’s are using CorrActions to meet new European and US regulations and NCAP rating changes and to improve driver and passenger safety and well-being. CorrActions is disrupting the Brain Computer Interface space, providing software-only brain activity monitor at EEG accuracy, using motion data from sensors available in any digital device, allowing reliable brain monitoring on the go. This monitor detects cognitive states such as fatigue, inattention, anxiety, alcohol or drugs influence
Also at the Summit was IntellAct, whose Artificial Intelligence monitors turnaround services in real-time. This is critical for airlines, airports and ground handling teams to address turnaround services, performance bottlenecks thus minimizing delays. The AI does this by analysing CCTV data by computer vision and historical data, providing airlines with real-time full visibility into aircraft turnaround times, identifying potential delays, improving safety and recognizing hazards. “Our Artificial intelligence monitors turnaround services in real-time and alerts relevant stakeholders when actual performance is slower than expected, or when safety violation is detected,” says the company.
The OurCrowd Global Investors Summit, saw Phantom Auto, the leading provider of remote operation software, participating. Phantom Auto specializes in remote operation of all types of vehicles. Phantom’s interoperable solution enables people to remotely supervise, assist, and drive vehicle fleets up to thousands of miles away – including forklifts, robots, trucks, and more. The company’s proprietary software delivers secure, low-latency communication over volatile wireless networks for reliable sensor streaming and safe vehicle control.
“When you look at all of the key operating metrics for delivering reliable, seamless remote operation technology, the question keeps coming back to how one can ensure ultra-low latency in highly variable network conditions,” said Shai Magzimof, Co-founder and CEO at Phantom Auto in a press release.
Israeli firm Ravin AI, a leader in AI-enabled vehicle inspection tools, was another company to showcase its technologies at the Summit. Ravin AI was chosen as TIME’s Best Inventions of 2022 in the AI category and was one of the 200 innovations selected in 27 different categories. Ravin AI is an international provider of automated artificial intelligence solutions for vehicle inspections serving diverse fleet, insurance and remarketing customers around the world. Unlike other marketplace solutions, Ravin does not require its customers to purchase or install dedicated hardware but rather uses mobile and CCTV cameras.
Another interesting auto-tech firm at the Summit was Israeli company RideVision which develops safety technology for two-wheeled vehicles. The company’s collision aversion technology for motorcycles uses AI, computer vision, and standard cameras that recognize, analyse, and safely alert the driver about real threats. The creation of Ride Vision was the result of a meeting between two visionaries, Uri and Lior. As passionate motorcycle riders themselves, Uri and Lior knew that motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable on the road. While dozens of safety solutions geared toward car drivers exist on the market, there were few good options for riders.
“RideVision’s components offer powerful technological capabilities in a small and unobtrusive package. Instead of focusing on protecting riders after a crash, like so many other products, we created a solution to help prevent crashes in the first place. As such, Ride Vision represents a true revolution in motorcycle safety with multiple use cases and benefits for leisure riders, commuters, insurance companies, fleet operators, manufacturers, and more. Developing safety technology for two-wheeled vehicles was especially challenging because any onboard system must be lightweight, durable, non-distracting, and reliable. Additionally, in order to make a true impact, the product had to be affordable and user-friendly. The solution was to use small, lightweight components – such as cameras and LED strips – and harness the latest advances in image recognition and artificial intelligence,” says the company.
Also present at the Summit, was Nick Sugimoto, CEO of Honda Innovations. He was focussing on Honda Xcelerator which reflects Honda’s vision of the carbon-neutral future of
mobility investing in startup technologies powering fusion energy, turning waste into polymers for manufacturing, and novel battery chemistry to create Smart 3D electrode batteries. “Honda believes that partnering together with entrepreneurs, startups, developers & academic institutions will help us develop truly transformational new products. OurCrowd serves as the eyes and ears of Honda in Israel,” said Sugimoto.
At the Summit, Automotive Industries caught up with Jon Medved, Founder & CEO, OurCrowd.
AI: How important was this year’s OurCrowd Global Investor Summit after a three-year hiatus?
Medved: Bringing our global community of high-tech investors, start-up entrepreneurs and multinational partners together in one place is always a pleasure, but this year, after so many months of Zooms, Skypes and FaceTimes, it feels like a necessity. We created the OurCrowd Summit back in 2014 because my career began through conferences. They changed my life. Ever since, I have repeatedly witnessed their ability to mobilize, inspire and transform people.
There is something about stepping out of your day-to-day routine and meeting a lively collection of smart, like-minded people with similar goals. If the event is structured correctly so you can provoke, educate, set the agenda, entertain, facilitate networking, ease interaction and allow for a bit of serendipity and fun with good food and drink and the chance to meet new people and make new friends, it all creates a kind of magic.
AI: What made this year’s summit particularly special to you?
Medved: This year, OurCrowd celebrates our 10th anniversary and reaching the milestone of $2 billion in investment commitments. After a three-year hiatus, the Summit is more important than ever. We return as the high-tech investment community is faced by an agenda that seems almost overwhelming. On one hand, we see geopolitical instability, financial market jitters and a global economic outlook that sends chills down the spine of many investors.
At the same time, we see the urgent issues that so badly need the new technology that only venture investing can create: food insecurity, health inequity, supply-chain problems, energy shortages, cybersecurity threats and, most worrying of all, the looming shadow of climate change that threatens the very future of our planet.
AI: How do you think these issues can be tackled at a summit such as OurCrowd Global Investors Summit?
Medved: Venture-backed technology, created at speed by smart, nimble start-ups, can provide the answers to many of these problems. But the only way to address them effectively is by gathering together the innovators who create the necessary technology, the entrepreneurs who transform those ideas into reality, and the investors who provide the financial fuel to bring them to market. Only as a unified, committed team can we hope to solve the issues that at first glance seem too big to handle. This year, our global outlook will be even more prominently on display with significant participation by our newly close neighbours from the Gulf states, as well as Asia, Africa and the rest of the world.
Automotive Industries also caught up with Ziv Binyamini, CEO and co-founder of Foretellix. Foretellix, a leading provider of safety-driven verification and validation (V&V) solutions for automated driving systems (ADS), participated in the Summit.
AI: Innovative tech companies participated in this year’s OurCrowd Global Investors Summit – what innovation did your company highlight?
Binyamini: Designed by verification and validation veterans together with automotive and safety experts, Foretellix’s Foretify™ platform enables tight collaboration between core development, safety, and V&V teams at OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers. From requirements definition and early project design throughout production and over-the-air updates, Foretify helps customers to boost productivity, improve time to market, and achieve the required safety goals for large-scale deployment of Automated Driving Systems.
AI: How is this different to other such technologies?
Binyamini: Traditional safety processes used by car makers for years do not scale to automated driving systems. The safety challenges resulting from complex software-defined vehicles navigating through the long tail of real-world unknown edge scenarios are immense. Expanding on our market-leading automated V&V solutions, we are rolling out our safety-driven verification and validation vision in the Foretify platform to address this challenge and enable customers to safely deploy autonomy at scale.
AI: What has been the response from industry?
Binyamini: In the past year, Foretellix has experienced a surge in demand for its virtual platform for validation and safety of autonomous vehicles and ADAS systems, from car manufacturers and Tier 1’s. Some of their customers are: Volvo, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz trucks), NVIDIA, VALEO, NIO, Denso, and many others. Recently, the company marked a significant achievement with impact on the entire automotive industry: the global standard for testing AVs and ADAS systems, which was approved last summer, is based on the unique language developed by the company – a language for describing billions of possible scenarios of autonomous systems with an emphasis on extreme scenarios (car accidents etc).