Automakers in Israel
The 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series, Porsche Museum, Stuttgart, 2017. (photo from newsroom.porsche.com)
Porsche is establishing an innovation office in Tel Aviv, investing an eight-figure sum in the Magma and Grove venture capital funds. Further investments in start-ups and funds are planned. “Israel is a key market for IT experts and engineers. It has more start-ups per capita than any other country in the world. This talent and technological know-how coupled with the great expertise offered by our employees creates the ideal breeding ground for future business models,” said Porsche’s Lutz Meschke. He added that close collaboration with Israeli experts is necessary so that the company can quickly assess new technologies, develop good relationships and pilot appropriate solutions.
The Magma Venture (MV) fund is focused on artificial intelligence and automotive: with investments in numerous start-ups, like Waze, MV is one of the major venture capital (VC) funds in Israel and has $600 million US under management. Grove Ventures is a VC company with a volume of $100 million US; its primary early-stage investment areas are the internet of things (IoT), Cloud technologies and artificial intelligence.
Mercedes Benz, General Motors, BMW, Ford, Honda, Uber, Volkswagen, Renault and Volvo also have opened R&D centres in Israel and/or invested in Israeli technology since 2016. The Honda Silicon Valley Lab, Volvo, Hertz International and Israel’s Ituran are sponsoring DRIVE, a new smart-mobility accelerator, co-working space and prototyping lab in Tel Aviv.
Jerusalem-headquartered Mobileye, prominent in the engineering of self-driving cars, was acquired by Intel in March for $15.3 billion US. Mobileye is partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and corporations including Microsoft to establish an international transportation lab in the Israeli port city of Ashdod.
– Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c
Prof. Yoram Shiftan, head of transportation research at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, said Israel “is one of the major contributors to driverless automated car technology.”