Underlining Israel’s growing importance as a worldwide auto-tech hub, major automakers Ford, Renault and Nissan all opened innovation facilities in Tel Aviv over the past few weeks.
Renault-Nissan’s 1,600-square-meter Alliance Innovation Lab Tel Aviv, in an exclusive partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority, focuses on Israeli startups developing products and services for autonomous vehicles and autonomous vehicle security, such as Apollo Power, Argus, AutoTalks, BrightWay Vision, Electreon, Enigmatos, IRP systems, Karamba, Moodify, Saferide and Upstream.
“With Israel as a global innovation hub, particularly with automotive technology, this new lab is a natural next step for us and will allow the Alliance to leverage the strengths of Israel’s startup ecosystem,” said Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Alliance EVP Engineering.
Ford’s new research center will identify Israeli technology partners in connectivity, sensors, in-vehicle monitoring, and cybersecurity, said Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, who was in Tel Aviv in June for the Ecomotion Conference and Exhibition.
The center’s vehicle lab will support proof-of-concept efforts and AI work conducted by SAIPS, an Israeli computer-vision and machine-learning company acquired by Ford nearly three years ago. In 2015, Ford was among the first major automakers to host a developer challenge in Israel.
“We recognize the importance of being in one of the world’s leading innovation communities and ecosystems,” said Ford. “This new center is not only an expansion of our existing Research and Innovation centers but provides an opportunity to join a growing innovation community in Israel.”
Other automakers that have set up auto-tech centers in Israel in the last couple of years include Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Škoda, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo.