Israel evolves into an automotive electronics hotbed
In the new Mercedes-Benz Digital Hub (MBRD) the communication interfaces between driver and vehicle are at the top of the agenda. At the opening of the new R&D facility, Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: “Israel is regarded worldwide as a hot spot for innovations, digital technologies, new mobility services and car IT.
At the Tel Aviv branch, initially around 25 experts will be developing new mobility services which will then be tested as part of pilot projects. The group will start its work in 2018. In addition, Daimler intends to establish a network with local partners, universities and high-tech companies to develop, in cooperation with the Israeli startup community, a broad range of technologies for the networked vehicle, such as biometric authentication and navigation.
Together with Daimler’s IT division, MBRD Tel Aviv has already entered a close partnership with the accelerator program “The Bridge” in the first few months, as the company announced. Daimler wants to identify new trends and developments as early as possible and implement them for the automotive sector. For future cooperations and pilot projects, the carmaker examined 150 start-ups and has chosen eleven of them. Together with startup-company Anagog, Daimler has already launched an app called EQ Ready which was presented at the IAA in Frankfurt earlier this year. In September, Daimler’s truck division invested $60 million in Israeli start-up StoreDot, which specializes in ultra-fast electric car charging solutions.
With the establishment of its Digital Hub, Daimler is in good company: Earlier this month, independently of each other, Volkswagen and Hyundai announced investments for R&D branches in Israel to expand mobility and smart car technologies.
According to McKinsey, $18 billion has been invested in high-tech start-up companies in Israel since 2010.