Jerusalem, Israel, November 23, 2020 - The Israel Innovation Authority Research Committee yesterday published its decision to approve grants for the implementation of pilot programs on infrastructures provided by government companies. The objective of the program is to support advances in Israeli technology while enhancing the technological capabilities of state-owned companies. As part of the program, the Israel Innovation Authority and the Government Companies Authority issued a Call for Proposals for companies developing innovative technologies and seeking to test them on infrastructure provided by government companies.
The "Pilot Sites" include the Port of Ashdod, the Israel Electric Corporation transmission grid, a water desalination plant run by the Mekorot company, National Roads Company of Israel construction projects, including bridges, information systems and test sites of the Ayalon Highways Company.
Following this joint initiative of the Israel Innovation Authority and the Government Companies Authority (GCA), the GCA will collaborate with some 14 Israeli startups and other companies in order to develop technologies that will improve the services provided by the state-owned companies, cut costs and ultimately boost public wellbeing. The Government Companies Authority estimates that the successful implementation of these technologies will save the Israeli economy tens of billions of Shekels.
After an in-depth review of all submissions by teams comprised of experts acting on behalf of the Israel Innovation Authority and representatives of the Government Companies Authority, and following deliberations by the Israel Innovation Authority's Research Committee, the companies were approved to carry out the pilot projects and to receive grants of up to 50% of the projects' costs. Startups which meet certain criteria, such as being located in geographically peripheral areas of the country, were granted an additional 10%.
Yanki Quint, Director of the Government Companies Authority: "This is the third year running that government companies have made their infrastructure accessible to Israeli startups. This year, many resources were invested in marketing the program and increasing its budgets. To our delight, we received many high-quality proposals, exceeding expectations. The programs that were selected, following careful screening, have the highest potential for success and for providing the most significant contribution to the Israeli economy, both improving the bottom lines of state-owned companies and making an overall contribution to public service."
Aharon Aharon, CEO of the Israel Innovation Authority: "The Pilot Programs create a "win-win" outcome – both for state-owned companies as well as for the participating startups. This program enables startups to test and implement their products and technologies at government pilot sites, while advancing both regulations and Israeli infrastructure. The regulatory constraints placed on state-owned companies, while restrictive, can often be an essential driving force in the development of technological products. In light of the first pilot program and the data we received, we’ve seen that new technologies managed to reach maturity faster, enabling them to be sold globally or to help establish complete companies in Israel. It should be noted that due to this program, state-owned companies are exposed to Israeli high-tech products - and, as a result, incorporate innovation and greater efficiency into their internal processes."
One of the difficulties for fledgling startups is gaining access to suitable infrastructure in order to test their products in a real-world environment. This difficulty is even more pronounced when trying to gain access to national infrastructure, such as electric power stations and transmission sites, water desalination and pumping sites, ports, highways, railways and more. The joint pilots program, which includes a variety of state-owned companies, has made it possible for such infrastructure to be made accessible, creating unique public-private collaborations.
In conjunction with the Israel Innovation Authority’s publication of the call for proposals, the various state-owned companies also published their own calls for proposals, asking startups for proposals to test their products at state-owned companies’ sites. The state-owned companies received dozens of applications, identified the most suitable ones, and eventually submitted about 36 of them to be evaluated by the Israel Innovation Authority and the Government Companies Authority.
The following is a summary of the programs that were approved:
- A platform using drone photography to facilitate engineering, scheduling and budget management for the Israel National Roads Company’s infrastructure projects . The Winner: Datumate Ltd.
- A digital system to analyze the robustness of transformers. The system is based on machine learning and warns of faults that develop in transformers, such as those used by the Israel Electric Corporation. The winner: Augury Systems Ltd.
- Reverse osmosis technology to improve seawater desalination processes in collaboration with Mekorot, which will significantly reduce water loss in the desalination process. The winner: ROTEC-Reverse Osmosis Technologies Ltd.
- Use of the optical fibers deployed by the Israel Electric Corporation transmission network for purposes of monitoring, detecting malfunctions, preventive maintenance, and alerts pertaining to natural disasters and safety and security incidents. The Winner: Prisma Photonics Ltd. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PAaZ2MvipE
- Smart traffic management and planning, including traffic light planning, traffic flow management, interchange and fast lanes planning, etc., based on the use of accurate data collected using Mobileye technology. The Winner: Geoda - Adapted Data Solutions in conjunction with the Ayalon Highways Company.
- A digital platform for urban planning which assists in decision-making processes, and which will be tested together with the state-owned "Cities" company. The Winner: Urban Dashboard Ltd.
- Technology for managing a fleet of long-distance drones in collaboration with the Ayalon Highways Company. The Winner: Simplex Interactive Ltd.
- Counting passengers in vehicles by various means such as a camera that can detect body heat (The Winner: Cloud Wise Ltd. or by means of a radar (detecting direction and distance) that can sense the presence of people through vital signs, installed inside the vehicle (The Winner: CAARESYS Ltd.). Pilot programs carried out together with the Ayalon Highways Company are of critical importance in the ability to monitor travel along busy lanes.
- Ongoing monitoring and control of bridges for maintenance and early detection of damage using fixed cameras. To be carried out with the Israel National Roads Company. The Winner: Magna B. S. P. Ltd.
- A comprehensive management system for the entire lifespan of bridges, road structures and tunnels, for maintenance, early detection of damage, increased safety, etc. using drones, sensors and fixed cameras for surveys. To be carried out as part of the pilot program with the Ayalon Highways Company. The Winner: GIV Solutions Ltd.
- A unique technology to detect damage during the process of unloading vehicles and to increase efficiency during the unloading process at the Port of Ashdod. The Winner: Spin FrameTechnologies Ltd.
- Technology for improving damage assessment in wheat fields by using remote sensing, satellite images, weather data, etc., as well as providing farmers with advance warnings regarding potential weather damage. A pilot program in collaboration with the state-owned company Kanat - Insurance Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture. The Winner: Agritask Ltd.