This is the second installment of my Medium post; Israel Future Trends. Last post I focused on Israeli technology which will ultimately be customer facing. In this post I’d like to focus on technology which has applications within the IDF and Israeli defense establishment (and is currently being developed in these places), as well as for civilian use:
-Robotics: Israel is increasing its prowess in hardware and leading the world in developing robotics technology. I’d like to focus on technology whose origin is the military but now has civilian uses (in the case of the company featured below, the application is relevant for use by police forces). The IDF is taking the lead in developing robots with the introduction of UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles); in some cases using them as a replacement for infantry. The IDF released a good blog post last year discussing the need to supplement Israel’s border surveillance with UGVs. An example of a practical robotic security solution is General Robotics Dogo Robot; the robot equivalent of a watchdog, but armed with a high-resolution camera and the ability to carry a 9mm Glock if necessary. My decision to highlight technology whose purpose has security capabilities might strike some readers as provocative (as opposed to strict surveillance). I believe Israel’s competitive advantage (and its ability to overcome threats to its very existence) are what make its technology practical and effective. Technology like the Dogo Robot was born out of a need to protect humans from harm when dealing with a high-pressure security threat.
-Artificial Intelligence (AI): According to Google AI is “the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.” There is a lot of buzz around this space, as many aspects of technology incorporate AI (ex., chatbots). Tech giants such Google, as well as futurists like Stephen Hawking have prophesied future AI to do anything from eradicating disease to snuffing out humanity. Pretty heavy; but the intent of this post is to explore how Israeli AI will carve out a niche for itself, helped in large part by the level of qualitatively talented developers graduating from universities such as the Technion, Israeli entrepreneurs’ deep understanding of technology, and their ultimate practicality. A good example of a startup which utilizes AI (across a network of IoT devices) is Neura which brings context to IoT connected devices by recognizing behavior patterns, creating actionable triggers from IoT data and lets users enhance their personal technology with those triggers. Similar to what I wrote in my previous post, Israeli developers are usually the first to work on and develop new technologies; AI is no different. I predict a very (optimistic) future for Israel in this space.
-Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): Since the 1970’s Israel been developing drones for a variety of defense related matters in the case of necessity after lessons learned from incurring casualties on the battlefield. The development of drone technology has come a long way from their use in the First Lebanon War to the modern conflicts in Gaza. This VICE documentary features good footage and context on the history of drones but please note I personally don’t endorse the angle the journalists producing it have taken. Israel is the world’s number one exporter of drones; this article features a chart by Israel based YL Ventures featuring drone startups in a variety of sectors. Drones have a wide range of commercial functions; from using cameras to survey a landscape to delivering goods. Similar to the attempts to create a car industry, the defense establishment built a fighter jet, the ‘Kfir” in the 1970’s. While the fighter jet ultimately didn’t surpass the F-16, Israel’s drone dominance of the skies is a continuation of that legacy. A good example of a dynamic autonomous drone startup utilizing machine vision (MV, basically the ability of a computer to “see.”) is 3rd Eye Systems. This startup’s goal is to introduce low-cost autonomous drones which allows drones to follow autonomous routes; detecting and “seeing” human beings along a route. My prediction is that one day soon you’ll be able to order your package (and have a smart drone deliver it directly to your home). Israeli technology will play a major part in that. As an aside, most Israelis would agree with me that the current government-run postal service in Israel needs some serious upgrading. I have a feeling drone delivery will be available before that
Original post was published by Jonathan Frenkel, a non profit and Israeli tech guru at : https://medium.com/@jonathanyonifrenkel/israel-future-trends-ii-bb928de90141#.4gbhiv3ll