Shell awards top prize to Israeli tire technology

Startup Neomatix’s system combines sensors and algorithms to check tire pressure, aiming to increase road safety and cut emissions

Israel's Neomatix and Royal Dutch Shell representatives at the Bright Energy Ideas Challenge award in the Netherlands (Jiri Buller/AP images for Shell)
Israel's Neomatix and Royal Dutch Shell representatives at the Bright Energy Ideas Challenge award in the Netherlands (Jiri Buller/AP images for Shell)

An Israeli electro-optic sensor technology for gauging tire pressure and wear and tear won the Shell Bright Energy Ideas Challenge, beating 218 mobility startups from all over the world focused on the subject of cars, motorization and vehicles.

British-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell awarded Neomatix, the developer of the sensor, a €25,000 cash prize and a €100,000 loan. Shell will also help the Israeli startup to improve its product and provide it access to industry experts for the future commercialization of its technology, which combines sensors and algorithms.

“Neomatix was selected together with other 13 companies to participate in the Texchange program for Israeli startups,” said Yoni Dolgin, sector manager specializing in mobility at the UK Israel Tech Hub. “This program helped Neomatix find out about Shell’s challenge and to get in contact with them.”

The UK Israel Tech Hub is part of the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, and its goal is to promote bilateral cooperation between English and Israeli technology, bringing several Israeli startups to the United Kingdom every year.

Neomatix’s sensor was selected by Shell because it allows the checking of tire pressure without having to install anything on the vehicle or disrupt work routine. The sensors and the algorithms manage the tires automatically: the systems scan every vehicle passing through the gates at which they are installed and then they upload and analyze the results – to provide users with business intelligence and insights they need for tire maintenance or to take preventative action.

For a company like Shell, which has a massive fleet of trucks that transport fuel everywhere, the sensor can help increase its fleet’s efficiency. Neomatix, led by entrepreneur Kfir Wittmann, an ex-Israeli Air Force officer, has also developed a consumer solution in which users can check their tire pressure though an app on their smartphone.

“Neomatix won the competition with their concept for a smart sensor that monitors the status of tires. Among other things, the sensor can help reduce CO2 emissions by providing an early warning when the tire pressure is too low,” Shell explained on its website.

Indeed, ensuring the correct amount of tire pressure in vehicles can play a major role in the prevention of car accidents and the reduction of the quantity of pollution produced by trucks or cars.

Seventy-nine percent of drivers admit they don’t check their tire pressure, while 51 percent of cars in developing countries have under-inflated tires, data provided by Neomatix on its website shows. There are 500 annual road fatalities due to tire failure in the US it says.

“England sees Israel as a major technological partner, so at the UK Israel Tech Hub, our goal is to help English companies to get in touch with Israeli companies. Neomatix is just an example,” said Dolgin.

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