For the last decade, autonomous vehicle technology has been a hot topic in the automotive tech industry, and for good reason – once the technical and regulatory issues standing in the way of its implementation are overcome, the way that people interface with their daily transportation will change forever.
Israel is home to many start-ups and organizations carrying that self-driving torch forward, one of which – Innoviz – was awarded the Edison Award for technology in the Smart Transportation category last weekend.
Self-driving vehicle safety levels are a way to categorize the degree of automation in self-driving vehicles and to indicate the level of human intervention required in different driving scenarios.
Innoviz’s latest product, InnovizTwo, uses computer vision to enable safe autonomy at level 2+, a designation sometimes used in the automotive industry to describe vehicle automation that allows for partial automation of driving tasks, such as steering, acceleration and braking, but still requires the driver to remain engaged and ready to take control of the vehicle at any time.
The Edison Awards are an annual awards program that honors excellence in innovation and new product development. The awards are named after Thomas Edison, the inventor of the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the practical electric light bulb, among other innovations. Winners are selected by a panel of judges consisting of business executives, academics and other experts in the field of innovation.
The Awards recognize and honor the best new products, services and business leaders from around the world in various categories, including energy and sustainability, transportation, communication and social innovation and consumer goods, among others. The Smart Transportation category is a new category that was first awarded this year and is defined as one of the “gold” categories at the ceremony. The prize is awarded to companies developing smart solutions for cars or any other means of transportation.
A feather in the company's cap
Innoviz’s win is a feather in the company’s cap which comes following a streak of international partnerships with industry leaders including BMW and Volkswagen, and the company’s announcement of several hundred orders InnovizTwo from a commercial vehicle manufacturer as part of advanced negotiations for an additional series production contract.
“This is the second time we have won the Edison Award, and this is a very exciting event for us,” said Omer Keilaf, CEO and cofounder of Innoviz. “The prize gives us additional motivation for innovative and significant action, and we are committed to continuing to innovate and bring new solutions that will impact the world.”
Last November, Israel Innovation Authority chairman Dr. Ami Appelbaum highlighted Israel’s role in the promotion of self-driving tech. “Israel has a leading position in the field of smart and autonomous mobility. The number of Israeli start-ups in the field of smart transportation has increased from 400 in 2016 to more than 600 in 2020. The most significant growth has been in the number of autonomous vehicle start-ups established, with an average annual increase of 26% during this period,” Appelbaum said.
“The prize gives us additional motivation for innovative and significant action, and we are committed to continuing to innovate and bring new solutions that will impact the world."Innoviz CEO Omer Keilaf
Appelbaum further noted the importance of creating the infrastructure necessary to enable the advancement and utilization of autonomous driving technology. “By creating an advanced regulatory infrastructure that will allow the operation of driverless autonomous vehicles, and the activities of the four excellent groups in the framework of the call for proposals, the State of Israel is harnessing the autonomous vehicle to improve Israeli public transport, which will eventually turn Israel into a world leader in autonomous public transport pilots enabling Israeli companies to become global leaders in this sector,” Appelbaum said.