Pedestrian safety is target as Israel’s Autotalks teams with Taiwan firm

Israeli semiconductor firm to work with Taiwan’s RoyalTek on chips that warn people walking and biking of traffic risks

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative photo of an overturned vehicle (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of an overturned vehicle (photo credit: Edi Israel/Flash90)

Autotalks, an Israeli semiconductor company that makes vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems for use in autonomous driving cars, and Taiwan’s RoyalTek, a maker of global positioning systems (GPS) and satellite navigation technology, have joined forces to improve road safety.

The two companies said they will develop a new vehicle-to-pedestrian product in which cars equipped with Autotalks’ V2X semiconductor chips will be able to “talk” to pedestrians who use RoyalTek’s OMEN device. Designed as a phone case, the OMEN is equipped with chips that will send pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists alerts on their phones when cars get dangerously close and there is a risk of a crash.

The joint product is currently at the prototype stage.

The algorithms that define what constitutes a risk or dangerous situation still need to be worked out, along with what form the alert will take — at the moment it is a visual alert on the phone but a vibration or ring could be added to increase its impact, Autotalks said. The product will also be hacker proof, allowing regular consumer cellphones to be used without compromising their privacy or security.

The companies made their announcement last week at the consumer electronics tradeshow CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Illustration of RoyalTek's OMEN alert (Courtesy)
Illustration of RoyalTek’s OMEN alert (Courtesy)

In 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States, according to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition, more than 150,000 pedestrians were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal crash-related injuries in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip, research has shown.

RoyalTek and Autotalks said they aim to “dramatically reduce these statistics” via their collaboration.

“RoyalTek created OMEN to save pedestrian lives without compromising on the customer’s security and comfort,” said RoyalTek’s president, Jacky Chen. “We offer an easy-to-use and carry, totally secure V2P solution. The high level of integration offered by Autotalks is the only viable solution for our product concept taking into consideration its superior security, size and power consumption.”

“Autotalks’ entire vision is based on improving road safety and saving lives,” said Hagai Zyss, CEO of Autotalks. RoyalTek’s product, addressing the important vehicle-to-person use case, not only helps prevent accidents, “but helps safeguard those who are most vulnerable, and this is of the highest importance to us.”

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