Tactile Mobility joins BMW to produce the cars of the future

Tactile Mobility creates new software and AI solutions meant to use existing car sensors to ensure the smart car of the future won’t just see the road, it would also ‘feel’ the road

Tactile Mobility co-founder Boaz Mizrachi (first row, first on the left) with the team that made the recent cooperation with BMW a reality (photo credit: ALEX FRAGMENT)
Tactile Mobility co-founder Boaz Mizrachi (first row, first on the left) with the team that made the recent cooperation with BMW a reality
(photo credit: ALEX FRAGMENT)
Technology developed by Tactile Mobility will be used in BMW cars starting next year, the Israeli company said last week in a press release.
Tactile Mobility is in the business of helping smart cars “sense” and “see” the road. It provides smart and autonomous vehicles with the missing tactile sensing and dynamics data.
Today, many cars have built-in cameras. But while visual information is very important, it is not enough to control a car.
“If you take an excellent driver and give him a sports car, he can make the most out of it,” Tactile Mobility co-founder Boaz Mizrachi told The Jerusalem Post. “However, he won’t just use his eyes; he will also sense the conditions on the road and how the car functions.”
The company’s technology extracts data from existing built-in sensors – including wheel speed, brakes paddle position and other systems – and utilizes it to create a unified signal that represents the state of the road and vehicle.
“This is why we call it a virtual sensor,” Mizrachi said.
For example, when driving over an icy road, a car camera does not detect the ice, as the black ice resembles the road. The virtual sensor cleans up the background noise, and by using signal-processing techniques, applying its proprietary algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), it enables the representation of the ground as it actually is.
For Mizrachi, this means offering “VehicleDNA” and “SurfaceDNA.”
“Today, most autonomous vehicles are restricted to a certain speed,” he said. “This can be seen across different companies and experiments. You don’t see those vehicles driving fast or entering a highway using a ramp. Why? Because while they possess the line of vision, they lack the sense of tactility needed to ensure a safe ride.”
“Introducing the SurfaceDNA enables a better activation and utilization of the vehicle and has an effect on the VehicleDNA,” he added. “One example in modern cars would be adjusting the vehicle’s suspension system according to road conditions. The car of the future will ingest such data about icy roads [and] bumps ahead to improve the driving experience and offer a safer and comfortable solution.”
Eventually, as smart cars become more efficient, the goal would be to replace the driver and introduce a fully autonomous vehicle that could deliver humans safely from place to place in a manner that seems futuristic.
The car will lack a human driver stirring it and will “interact” with other cars and traffic lights to improve safety and decrease the time it takes to get from one point to the other. This mechanism will enable “reporting” on its own mechanical condition, informing owners ahead of time about mechanical repairs that need to be made.
Mizrachi said he was “thrilled to partner with the BMW Group to equip their smart and future automated vehicles with the sense of ‘touch,’” the press release said.
Rani Plaut, a member of the company’s executive board, said: “Our dedicated team has been working toward this type of commercial integration for years. We’re excited to see the results.”