ZIV AVIRAM, co-founder, president and CEO of Mobileye,.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
If you happen to be on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem freeway and you pass a car in which the driver is not looking at the road but is reading The Jerusalem Post, don’t freak out. Chances are high that the person in the other car is Mobileye co-founder, president and CEO Ziv Aviram – and he’s been doing that for the past two years without mishap.
“We are in the midst of the largest revolution that the automotive industry has seen in the last 100 years, and Mobileye is in the center,” he said at the annual Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Wednesday.
How much of a revolution? In 20 years, he predicted, “It will be illegal to drive.”
Aviram said that autonomous driving would be the order of the day, with push-button set ups to indicate the maximum speed the passenger wants to go, when there is no one behind and the road ahead is a free zone. For instance, said Aviram, if the speed is set for 100 kilometers per hour and there is a slower vehicle ahead, the system adapts the speed accordingly, brakes on the approach to a red light and stops automatically for a red light or a pedestrian.
Aviram said that his company understands the automotive scene: by using sophisticated vision algorithms, Mobileye can detect vehicles, pedestrians, traffic signals and traffic lights, and with this technology it is able to brake in time to avoid a collision.
That’s one of the reasons that automobile manufacturers from around the world are flocking to Israel to discuss the installation of Mobileye in the cars coming off their production lines.
Having studied world statistics, Aviram said 93% of road accidents are caused by drivers.
There are 1.5 million fatalities per year, and 15 million people are injured as a result of car accidents, he said. The cost factor involved in all this is $500 billion, he said.
“There are 12 million vehicles in the world in which our system has been installed,” said Aviram, a figure that includes vehicles in the US as well as Japan and South Korea. “This is going to be our business for the next 10 years.”
Mobileye has signed a strategic agreement with BMW which specifies that by 2021, the first autonomous vehicle will be on the road.
Focusing on the present time, Aviram said that the total wasted time on the part of drivers collecting their vehicles, waiting in congested lanes of traffic and finding a parking spot was in the range of 400 billion hours per annum.
He said cars will look different in the future, and people won’t own cars but will simply order them when necessary, in much the same way as a taxi. “We feel lucky that we are in the center of this huge revolution that will have such a huge impact on society, he said.