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    AI has a Way out from Traffic Jams

    Israel’s traffic congestion ranks near the worst among developed economies but an AI-based algorithm can help, says one of the country’s IT firms engaged in the auto and mobility sector.

    ITC, or Intelligent Traffic Control, was one of the artificial intelligence players at Tel Aviv’s recent EcoMotion showcase where high-tech and AI firms hope to make transport more efficient and cleaner.

    It’s AI software collects real-time data from road cameras and then sends instructions to manipulate traffic lights based on vehicle flows.

    “ITC managed to prove mathematically that many traffic jams can be prevented –- if you intervene early enough,” said its co-founder and chief technology officer Dvir Kenig, citing a 30 percent drop in traffic at the two junctions using their system.

    The company says road congestion is a global scourge, calculating that the average driver spends three days a year stuck in traffic, also pumping out greenhouse gas emissions.

    The problem is acute in Israel where, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says, “transportation infrastructure lags significantly behind” most member countries and “road congestion is one of the worst in the OECD”.

    Military innovations

    EcoMotion’s founder Meir Arnon told AFP that surging global interest in smart mobility had made Israel an auto industry player, even though it doesn’t manufacture any cars.

    “Cars changed,” said the industrialist turned investor. “Cars were metal and wheels and radio. Today these things don’t matter, they’re all mass-produced by the same companies for everyone.

    “What differentiates car manufacturers today is the driving experience… the vehicle’s ability to adapt itself to the driver,” he said.

    Systems developed by Israel’s army and private defence industry—notably surveillance, communication, and sensory technology—have become central to automakers, Arnon said.

    With over 600 start-ups in the field—”second only to Silicon Valley”—Israel has become a “centre of mobility,” Arnon said, noting that 35 global auto companies have operations in the country, including General Motors.

    “The future of vehicles lies outside vehicles—in the cloud, our phones, in the cars to some extent, and all these elements create an open platform,” said Gil Golan, head of GM’s local technical centre.

    “This open platform is a place for innovation and creativity, which Israelis are good at.”

    Engineers needed

    Also at EcoMotion was Rider Dome, whose cameras mounted on the front and back of motorcycles use artificial intelligence to warn riders of nearby dangers.

    “A driving assistant that has become a standard in nearly every car does not exist in motorcycles,” chief executive Yoav Elgrichi said. “That’s why we decided to found Rider Dome.”

    But some observers warn that Israel’s technology sector, including smart mobility, could run out of steam.

    The Israel Innovation Authority says the tech sector, which accounts for half the country’s exports and one in 10 jobs, is “maturing” and the number of new startups is on the decline.

    ELE Times Research Desk
    ELE Times Research Desk
    ELE Times provides extensive global coverage of Electronics, Technology and the Market. In addition to providing in-depth articles, ELE Times attracts the industry’s largest, qualified and highly engaged audiences, who appreciate our timely, relevant content and popular formats. ELE Times helps you build experience, drive traffic, communicate your contributions to the right audience, generate leads and market your products favourably.

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