ISRAEL - Defense Expertise Drives Tech Boom for Autonomous Cars

Arno Froese

Technology that has helped Israel’s military drive tanks, guide and intercept missiles, and keep its computer systems secure is being redeployed in the development of driverless cars.

Investment from firms seeking access to Israeli expertise in automated driving, much of it gathered by engineers during their conscription, is pouring into startups.

U.S. chipmaker Intel, German auto supplier Continental, Samsung, Daimler, Ford Motor Co and GM are among those to have bought startups or set up their own development centers in Israel.

“A lot of the entrepreneurs are coming out of the Israel Defense Forces and they tend to be older than the traditional Silicon Valley (entrepreneurs),” Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. told Reuters.

“They have a lot of judgment and wisdom. Particularly in areas like cybersecurity, there’s tremendous activity coming out of Israel.”

The United States attracts the most investment in the sector with companies raising $1.2 billion last year, according to venture capital data provider CB Insights. Silicon Valley, Pittsburgh and Detroit are making efforts to be leaders in the driverless car era.

Israeli auto tech startups are not far behind. They raised $814 million last year, triple the 2015 level, and $182 million in the first quarter of 2018, in line with last year’s pace, according to Start-Up Nation Central.

Israel’s auto tech sector started to take off in 2014, the year after Google bought mapping firm Waze for $1.2 billion.

Another big step was when Intel spent $15.3 billion on autonomous vehicle technology firm Mobileye last year and moved all its operations in the field to Jerusalem.

“We were not known as a country that provides technology to the automotive industry and suddenly you have more than 500 different startups dealing with ... the automotive industry,” Mobileye co-founder Ziv Aviram said., 23 May 2018

Arno's commentary

The words in the article, “They have a lot of judgment and wisdom,” are a striking statement for a country only 70 years of age and continuously threatened by its neighbors with total destruction. That, however, seems to be the key to wisdom and judgment, meaning that Israel is being forced to be a step ahead of the rest of the world. Thus, the curse of the enemies returns to Israel in the form of blessings.

Solomon, the son of David, had this to say: “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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