US-Israel fund to invest $8 million in 10 new joint projects

Ventures in AI, biomedical health, autonomy, and cybersecurity said to ‘exemplify the continued innovation leadership of the US and Israeli private sectors’

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

Illustrative image of the American and Israeli flags. (3dmitry; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of the American and Israeli flags. (3dmitry; iStock by Getty Images)

Ten new joint US-Israeli projects, including the makers of an artificial-intelligence based genetic testing technology and an autonomous driving system for agriculture machinery, will get a total of $8 million in funding from the US-Israel Binational Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation.

In addition to the BIRD grants, the projects will also be able to access private sector funding, bringing the total value to all projects to some $20 million, BIRD said in a statement on Monday.

The BIRD Foundation promotes joint ventures US and Israeli companies in various technological fields so they can jointly create new products. In addition to providing grants of up to $1 million for approved projects, the foundation works with the companies to identify potential strategic partners.

Projects submitted to the BIRD Foundation are reviewed by evaluators appointed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce, and the Israel Innovation Authority.

Since it was set up 43 years ago, BIRD has backed 1,000 joint projects for a total investment of over $350 million, and help to generate direct and indirect sales of more than $10 billion, the statement said.

The newly approved projects are:

Aeronautics Defense Systems (Yavne, Israel) is working with PreVision (Edgewood, New Mexico) to develop a wide area motion imagery (WAMI) sensor that has an automated interface with an electro-optics system fitted onto an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) platform.

AEYE Health (Tel Aviv, Israel) and University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, Massachusetts) are working to develop a diagnostic screening system for retinal imaging.

Datumate (Yokne’am Illit, Israel) and Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (Sugar Land, Texas) are developing a construction site management collaboration framework.

Firedome (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Olibra (Cresskill, New Jersey) seek to make traditional consumer electronics devices into connected cybersecurity guardians of the home.

Genoox (Tel Aviv, Israel) and ASPiRA Labs, a Vermillion Company (Austin, Texas) are working to develop an AI-based affordable genetics testing technology.

Redler Technologies (Netanya, Israel) and Martin Technologies (Hudson, Michigan) to develop an advanced automotive electronic power distribution module.

Senso Medical Labs (Nazareth, Israel) and Haystack Diagnostics (Brookline, Massachusetts) are working together to develop a multi-electrode device to advance electrodiagnostic medicine.

Serenus.AI (Tel Aviv, Israel) and HealthTrio (Denver, Colorado) seek to create an AI-based platform to assist medical professionals and insurance companies in making better medical decisions.

Vaya Vision (Or Yehuda, Israel) and Trimble (Sunnyvale, California) are working to develop a perception-based autonomous-driving system for vehicles and heavy machinery in the agriculture, construction, and mining markets.

XRHealth (Tel Aviv, Israel) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston, Massachusetts) seek to create a virtual reality platform that will distract patients from pain while undergoing medical procedures.

“These approved projects, which advance AI, biomedical health, autonomy, and cybersecurity, exemplify the continued innovation leadership of the US and Israeli private sectors in driving new industries and revolutionizing existing ones,” said Walter Copan, US under secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology, director of NIST and co-chairman of BIRD’s board of governors, said in the statement.

The deadline for submission of proposals for the next BIRD funding cycle is September 1, 2020, with approval of projects to take place in December 2020, the statement said.

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