Israel’s port city of Ashdod, the nation’s sixth-largest city, is setting up a joint venture with Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems, to make the city an international transportation lab for developing and testing advanced transportation systems.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and tech firms including Microsoft are taking part in the venture, which they call the Living Lab. The project will collect data from a number of sources and set up an open database that will be available to startups, government offices, academics who are interested in working on technologies to create future smart transport systems.
Ashdod has already started a smart city program called REWAY, as part of which it has set up digital bus stops, put sensors and smart cameras on new buses and at street crossings, and installed a digitized control system for buses that are connected to the city’s emergency services. All this will enable researchers and entrepreneurs to get data about traffic and driving patterns and possibly test out their technologies locally as well.
“We are placing Israel and its cities as the forefront of the global smart transportation,” Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri said in a statement. “To do this we need to cooperate with companies like Mobileye. Here we will solve not only current problems, but also those of the future.”
As part of the project Ashdod will also deploy Mobileye technology on public vehicles to gain data about accident-prone areas in the city, similar to projects Mobileye has set up in London and Brooklyn.
Earlier this year Intel Corp. said it would acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion, a deal that has shined a spotlight on Israel’s auto-tech sector.