Monster traffic jams are the daily life of Israelis, whose country is noted as one of the worst in this area, but artificial intelligence and its algorithms could help counter the phenomenon, according to an Israeli high-tech company .

This sector is increasingly interested in the automotive industry and a fair on smart mobility called “EcoMotion”, which promotes more efficient and greener transport, was held recently in Tel Aviv.

Among the companies present was ITC (Intelligent traffic control), which develops software capable of collecting real-time data from surveillance cameras along the roads and manipulating traffic lights according to traffic flows. .

“ITC has succeeded in mathematically proving that many traffic jams can be prevented, if we intervene early enough”, explains Dvir Kenig, chief technology officer of this company, citing a 30% drop in congestion at two intersections where the system has been put in place.

The company claims to want to respond to a scourge that affects the whole world, estimating that an average motorist remains stuck three days a year in traffic jams, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Controlling traffic is a particularly important issue in Israel, where “transport infrastructure is seriously insufficient compared to most other developed countries”, indicated the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in a report published in 2021.

“Road congestion (in Israel) is one of the worst” in OECD countries, according to this report.

«Start-up nation»

According to Meir Arnon, founder of the “EcoMotion” show, the growing global interest in smart mobility has enabled Israel — which bills itself as a “start-up nation” due to its bubbling high-tech sector — to become a player in the automotive sector, while the country does not manufacture any.

“Cars have changed,” he told AFP. “They used to be made of metal, wheels and a radio, but now those things don’t matter.”

“What differentiates car manufacturers these days is the driving experience (…), the ability of the vehicle to adapt to the driver,” he continues.

According to him, the technological systems developed by the army and the private defense sector in Israel, especially in the fields of surveillance, communications and sensors, have become essential for car manufacturers.

With more than 600 tech start-ups — ‘second only to Silicon Valley’ — Israel has become a ‘hub’ for smart mobility, Arnon says, noting that 35 international auto companies have a presence in Israel , including the American giant General Motors (GM).

“The future of vehicles lies outside of vehicles: in the cloud, on our phones,” says Gil Golan, head of GM’s technical center in Israel, which he describes as fertile ground for “innovation.” .

Rider Dome, another company present at the EcoMotion show in Tel Aviv, specializes in road safety: its cameras installed on the front and back of motorcycles use artificial intelligence to warn drivers of dangers around them.

“Driver assistance has become standard in almost every car, but does not exist for motorcycles,” explains its director, Yoav Elgrichi.

But if Israel really wants to make a name for itself in automotive tech, and keep it, it will have to invest in engineering, according to Lisya Bahar Manoah of Catalyst Investments.

For her, it is necessary “as in Europe and particularly in Germany and Austria, to create professional schools” specialized in the mobility sector.

“Israel needs to think now about how to get more engineers to support the start-up environment. We must adjust our school system accordingly,” she said.

According to the latest annual report from the Israel Innovation Authority, the high-tech sector, which employs 10% of the national workforce and accounts for nearly half of the country’s exports, is in decline , saying that the Jewish state has seen a continuous decline in the creation of start-ups for the past two years.