US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro recently went for a spin on Israeli company MobilEye’s driverless car and left impressed.
Shapiro joined MobilEye CEO Ziv Aviram for a drive on a highway outside Jerusalem, in a vehicle sporting MobilEye’s innovative autonomous car technology.
“I have to say this is the first time I’ve ever been in a vehicle where the driver was not in control and I already feel much much safer than I ever would have imagined,” Shapiro said in a video of the ride released by the US Embassy on Thursday. “I can see that it’s probably safer than if a driver was in control of the vehicle, because drivers can be distracted but this vehicle cannot.”
MobilEye currently sells driver assistance technology intended to prevent accidents. In recent years it has been one of the major developers of autonomous car technology, and its systems come preinstalled in cars made by companies including Audi and Tesla Motors. It’s systems use video cameras and advanced algorithms to identify and respond to other vehicles, bends in the road, pedestrians and traffic signs.
“His hands are not on the wheel, his feet are not on the pedals, and the car is able to completely navigate at a safe speed and aware of all its surroundings,” an enthusiastic Shapiro said in the video.
“So it’s pretty impressive and I’m looking forward to ‘driving’ one of these myself.”
MobilEye raised nearly a billion dollars in its initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange in July 2014, making it the largest ever Israeli IPO. It was founded in 1999 by Aviram and Amnon Shashua, the Hebrew University professor who developed the technology.