Why Israel is winning with autonomous cars

Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
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Israel is establishing itself as a major automotive player because of a willingness to continually challenge ideas, a top executive said.

"No one is offended when the newest engineer challenges the CEO on why we are doing something," said Hagai Zyss, CEO of chipset specialist Autotalks, a Tier 2 supplier working with giants such as Denso and Robert Bosch.

Autotalks offers so-called vehicle-to-everything (V2X) solutions, which it expects will be a crucial component of autonomous cars.

Starting next year the company's technology will be mass deployed to complement the information coming from the other sensors in a car.

Zyss told me another advantage that Israel is capitalizing on is the country's deep pool of talented people, many of whom are coming from top roles in military intelligence.

"These young people have encountered complex problems and systems and have been given big challenges to overcome," Zyss said. "The car is a complex machine with so many subsystems. You need to know how all of those systems work and how to get them to work together."

He said smaller companies such Autotalks have another thing working for them.

"We know we need to have the next level of innovation ready now. We need to prove ourselves on a daily basis," he said.

His goal is to make sure top-level safety is available in all cars, not just premium models.

"We could be working in another sector," Zyss said, "but we think we can make a difference by making driving safer."

You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at

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