Haifa, Israel - November 7, 2022 - The Israel Innovation Authority announced today that Imagry, a developer of mapless autonomous driving technology, has received approval to operate the first public buses with AD capability using its novel platform in the city of Nahariya, Israel. Imagry is an Israeli start-up company, founded in 2015. For the past four years Imagry has been operating vehicles equipped with its autonomous driving software on public roads in the United States, Germany, and Israel. Imagry will install its system on electric buses operated by Nateev Express, one of the largest public transportation providers in the country.
Imagry Uses a Location-Independent Autonomous Driving Model
Imagry software combines cutting-edge technology that captures and recognizes a real-time video feed with a deep neural network to make complex driving decisions instantly, based on current driving conditions. As such, the solution is location-independent (“mapless”), and therefore not limited to pre-learned geographic areas. This is a tremendous benefit for transportation authorities and urban planners who want to employ the latest autonomous driving technology with minimal engineering requirements, reducing both project costs and time-to-market.
Autonomous driving in public transportation is projected to decrease the number of traffic accidents, reduce the use of fossil fuels, lower air pollution, and improve social equality. Furthermore, AD will encourage travelers to use public transportation.
Autonomous Public Bus Project Joins Existing Autonomous Shuttle Project
The autonomous bus project is preceded by an autonomous shuttle pilot program taking place at the Sheba Medical Center, the largest hospital in the Middle East. This pilot program is an integral step in the application of Israel's City of Health vision at the Sheba Medical Center, representing a shift in the principles of a green environment combined with innovation and the creation of an empowered human and patient experience.
The Sheba Medical Center, for the fourth consecutive year selected by Newsweek magazine as one of the best hospitals in the world, promotes green transportation and environmentally friendly transportation solutions as part of the national effort to preserve a green environment.
The Sheba autonomous medical shuttle service has been approved by the Innovation Authority, and is another pillar in a series of urgent transportation issues promoted at the national level, such as green energy initiatives and elimination of traffic congestion.
In both ventures, Imagry relies on the use of “best in class” components, including state-of-the-art electric buses, a top-grade automotive computing platform, modern cameras designed specifically for vehicles, and Imagry's mapless autonomous driving software.
Imagry's autonomous shuttle service is planned to start in the first quarter of 2023. The autonomous bus service in Nahariya is scheduled for initial roll-out for testing purposes at the end of the second quarter of 2023.
Autonomous Driving is Ready for Prime Time
“We are pleased to meet the challenge to operate the first autonomous buses on public roads in Israel,” states Eran Ofir, CEO of Imagry. “It is a testament to the viability of our mapless system, which enables the vehicle to respond to traffic signs, road conditions, stationary obstacles, and pedestrians in real time, just like a human driver would. It is also a strong vote of confidence in our capabilities overall.”
Imagry (www.imagry.co) was established in 2015. The company develops unique “mapless” driving software for Level 3-4 autonomous vehicles. Imagry's bio-inspired technology collects and processes peripheral information from cameras installed on the vehicle. This data is sent to a special computer in the vehicle whose purpose is to perform, in real time, the actions that will allow the vehicle to drive autonomously (similar to a human driver). Imagry's unique technology enables the rapid deployment of autonomous vehicles on unknown roads for non-stop journeys. It uses low-cost sensors and eliminates the need for a continuous satellite connection or multiple investments for the digital mapping of roads and cities. Imagry currently operates autonomous vehicles on public roads in California, Arizona, Haifa, and Frankfurt. Imagry's investors include Takwin Ventures, Afifi Group, and others.
Ruth Bridger, Marketing Director - Imagry