We all spend a lot of time on the roads, both in transit and in traffic. While technology has not yet come up with an alternative to the daily commute (unless you work from home), several Israeli startups are developing technologies to make our daily drive smoother, safer, and more pleasurable.
Here are five Israeli companies using technology to change the way we drive:
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Mobileye: Preventing accidents
Making driving safer, Israeli company Mobileye develops driver assistance technology to prevent accidents, but is also one of the major developers of autonomous car technologies.
Mobileye’s systems use video cameras and advanced algorithms to identify and respond to other vehicles, bends in the road, pedestrians and traffic signs, providing advanced warning for drivers and thereby preventing road accidents. Mobileye has already embedded its technology into cars made by Audi, Tesla Motors and others.
Founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua, the Hebrew University professor who developed the technology, Mobileye raised nearly $1 billion in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2014, making it the largest ever Israeli IPO.
Radiomize: Staying connected while driving safely
Wish that you could answer your text messages while driving? Israeli IoT startup Radiomize has created a wheel cover embedded with text-to-speech technology and a thumb-sized touch screen. The patented gesture-controlled steering wheel cover fits most vehicles, allowing drivers to control their phones without taking their focus off the road.
Radiomize also comes with an app that creates a personal playlist which learns user preferences so drivers don’t need to listen to songs and news they don’t like.
“With Radiomize, commuting will be a safer and more pleasant experience,” CEO Shmulik Kaz said in a statement. “Our technology has the ability to reduce distracted driving by 23 percent while simultaneously providing a radio station that is tailored perfectly to each user.”
The company recently launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for mass production. With less than a week remaining on the campaign, Radiomize has already raised over 140 percent of their original $50,000 goal.
VocalZoom: Anyone can be a Knight Rider
If you’re a fan of the hit 1980’s TV show Knight Rider, you can picture David Hasselhoff having a dialogue with his car, KITT, not only with the windows down, but at 60 miles an hour on the freeway – and with the wind blowing through his hair.
While voice recognition technology, like Siri and other similar products, have become more and more commonplace, these technologies tend to work effectively mainly in a sterile environment, in a quiet room in your home or office. But what about in your car on the open road?
VocalZoom, a Yokneam-based Israeli startup, delivers natural, personalized and effective voice-controlled user experiences. The company developed an optical microphone that measures the vibrations on the face of people who are talking and eliminates all background noise. The result is more precise speech recognition.
VocalZoom is in the process of selling its components to smartphone makers and car manufacturers, so in the very near future we may all be able to feel like Knight Rider.
StoreDot: The quick-charging car battery
StoreDot, an Israeli startup that can charge a smartphone in 30 seconds, is also developing a battery that can charge your electric vehicle in five minutes.
StoreDot’s new type of electric-car battery consists of proprietary organic compounds – based on the innovative materials used in its FlashBattery for mobile devices. This new battery will enable a charging experience which is similar to fueling a gasoline-run car.
According to the company, the EV FlashBattery enables full charge in five minutes, providing 300 miles (480 km) of driving distance. The electric vehicle will have a pack comprising of hundreds of EV FlashBattery cells that can store enough energy for a 300 mile (480 km) range on a five-minute charge. This translates into 60 miles of travel on a 1-minute charge.
This quick charging technology shortens the amount of time drivers have to wait in line to charge their cars, thus reducing the number of required charging posts in each station.
Waze: Saving you time on the road
Of course no list about Israeli startups changing the way we drive would be complete without mentioning Waze.
Launched in 2008 in Israel, and now owned by Google, this navigation app uses a complex algorithm and the real-time speeds of its users to determine the best driving routes. Waze’s strength is its crowd-sourced reports. It’s stronger in denser areas than in rural ones and has the advantage of using both human and machine knowledge. Waze’s initial mission was simply to save five minutes a day for every motorist, but now it has become a must-have app for any driver.
As the world’s attention focuses on news of Google’s self-driving cars, Waze’s innovative technology will certainly play a major role in their development.
Whether you are seeking to avoid traffic, charge your electric car quickly, or just be able to ‘talk’ to your car better, there are many Israeli technologies that will help make your drive better – and safer, too.
Photos and videos: Radiomize, StoreDot, Waze, Mobileye