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Traffic jams are just a mathematical problem, says the Israeli AI company

AFP – Israel’s traffic load ranks close to the worst among developed economies, but an algorithm can help, says one of the country’s IT companies that operates in the car and mobility sector.

ITC, or Intelligent Traffic Control, was one of the artificial intelligence actors at Tel Aviv’s recent EcoMotion exhibition where high-tech and AI companies hope to make transportation more efficient and cleaner.

The AI ​​software collects real-time data from road cameras and then sends instructions to manipulate traffic lights based on vehicle currents.

“ITC was able to prove mathematically that many traffic jams can be prevented – if you intervene early enough,”[ads1]; said its co-founder and chief technology officer Dvir Kenig, referring to a 30 percent drop in traffic at the two intersections using their system.

The company says that road traffic is a global nuisance, and calculates that the average driver spends three days a year stuck in traffic, and also pumps out greenhouse gas emissions.

The problem is acute in Israel, where, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, “transport infrastructure lags significantly behind” most member countries and “roads are one of the worst in the OECD.”

Traffic jams are just a mathematical problem, says the Israeli AI company

Dvir Kenig (R), CEO and co-founder of “ITC” (Intelligent Traffic Control) speaks during the “EcoMotion Week” fair on May 11, 2022, in the coastal city of Tel Aviv (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

EcoMotions founder Meir Arnon told AFP that growing global interest in smart mobility had made Israel a car industry player, even though they do not produce any cars.

“Cars have changed,” said the industrialist, who became an investor. “Cars were made of metal and wheels and a radio. Today, these things do not matter, they are all mass-produced by the same companies for everyone.

“What sets car manufacturers apart today is the driving experience … the vehicle’s ability to adapt to the driver,” he said.

Systems developed by the Israeli army and private defense industry – especially surveillance, communications and sensory technology – have become central to automakers, Arnon said.

With more than 600 start-ups in the field – “second only to Silicon Valley” – Israel has become a “mobility center”, Arnon said, noting that 35 global car companies operate in the country, including General Motors.

“The future of vehicles lies outside vehicles – in the cloud, our phones, in cars to some degree, and all of these elements create an open platform,” said Gil Golan, head of GM’s local technical center.

“This open platform is a place of innovation and creativity, which Israelis are good at.”

Also at EcoMotion was the Rider Dome, whose cameras mounted on the front and rear of motorcycles use artificial intelligence to warn cyclists of dangers nearby.

Illustrative: Cyclists on Route 10, on the southern border of Egypt, in January 2021 (Moshe Shai / FLASH90)

“A driving assistant that has become a standard in almost all cars is not found in motorcycles,” said CEO Yoav Elgrichi. “That’s why we decided to found Rider Dome.”

But some observers warn that Israel’s technology sector, including smart mobility, could run out of steam.

The Israel Innovation Authority says that the technology sector, which accounts for half of the country’s exports and one in 10 jobs, is “maturing” and the number of new start-ups is declining.

Israel needs more engineers, says Lisya Bahar Manoah, a partner at Catalyst Investments, if they want to keep up with the growing mobility sector, which is expected to “double in size” globally in the coming years.

“The way we can overcome the problem is – as in Europe, especially in Germany and Austria – they create professional schools,” she said.

“Israel needs to stop and think now about a way to create more engineers to support the start-up system. We need to adjust our education system accordingly.”

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