For someone whose traditional background is not in the Automotive industry, it is important to clarify exactly what we mean by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Automotive Ecosystem.
We can define AI as a form of technology that uses data and algorithms to replicate human decision/thinking ability. In recent times, it is fair to say that AI has transformed the Automotive Ecosystem. AI is now used in automotive manufacturing, including design, supply chain, production, and post-production. AI is being implemented in ‘driver assistance’ and ‘driver risk assessment’ systems, which is transforming the transportation sector.
Further, aftermarket services such as predictive maintenance and insurance are also being transformed through the usage of AI.
As the world-renowned ‘Start-up Nation’, it is evident that the tech-hub, that is Israel, has a big role to play in the development of AI in the automotive industry.
In 2019, an article by Automotive Logistics highlighted why “all eyes are on Israel for AI”, referring to Mobileye and Innoviz Technologies as the keynote leaders in the development of AI in the automotive Ecosystem in Israel.
One year on in 2020, Calcalist Tech reported that “CES 2020 [Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas] saw a flurry of Israeli automotive start-ups”, discussing Arbe Robotics’ automotive 4D high-resolution imaging radar, as well as automotive chip company Valens Semiconductor Ltd., autonomous vehicle cybersecurity start-up Karamba Security Ltd., LiDAR start-up Innoviz Technologies Ltd., and autonomous vehicle safety start-up Foretellix Ltd.
More recently, in October 2021, there were two pieces of headline news in the evolution of Israeli AI tech in the automotive industry. Firstly, the AI Edge chipmaker, Hailo have raised $136million in a Series C funding round, making them the newest ‘unicorn’ in the Israeli automotive Ecosystem. Secondly, it was announced that the Israeli start-up, AIR, have unveiled their electric ‘flying-car’ for consumer travel, equipped with an AI-enabled monitoring and safety system.
Despite the Israeli start-ups flourishing in the automotive AI Ecosystem, however, an article by Medium, which discussed the dominance of Tesla in the industry does put a potential dampener on the prospective long-term goals of the start-ups.
In July 2021, Elon Musk officially announced that Tesla would be working on their own AI hardware, prior to his involvement in OpenAI, a research organisation dedicated to ensuring that AI is developed and deployed in a safe, manageable way so as to minimise any existential risk robots may one day pose to humanity. The article by Medium argues that Automakers, dealerships, financiers, insurers will all see their revenues evaporating once Tesla’s self-driving ‘borg’ rapidly absorbs their customer base.
Once this happens, Tesla will have reached the necessary speed carrying it to its ultimate goal; a monopoly of the global automotive Ecosystem.
Perhaps it could be argued that the strong performance in the industry displayed by Israeli start-ups, as well as other start-ups globally, will be enough to prevent Tesla’s potential monopolisation, but regardless, Elon Musk will certainly be in the back of the minds of anyone attempting to move into the Automotive AI Ecosystem.
Analyst Intern @ Mobilion Ventures