ŠKODA is bracing itself for a future where it not only makes cars, but also provides mobility services. It has unveiled its first specific projects in its technology incubator in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The world is constantly in flux, and no generation is the same as the one before. ŠKODA is preparing for the arrival of the younger generation, some of whom want to be fully mobile without actually owning a car. ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab, ŠKODA’s innovation incubator, is already running several services to make such a lifestyle possible.
For the future and the further development of mobility services, however, the carmaker and its innovation centre need technology that can work with data, control sensors, and ensure cybersecurity. This is why ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab and the Israeli ŠKODA importer, Champion Motors, have set up a joint venture in Tel Aviv called ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Israel Ltd., which seeks out and invests in interesting projects on the Israeli startup scene.
Tel Aviv is no random choice. Boasting seven thousand young technology companies, this metropolis has the highest number of startups per capita in the world. About a tenth of the total number of companies specialise in mobility technologies.
“ŠKODA views mobility as a coherent system of cars and services,” says Andre Wehner, ŠKODA’s Chief Digital Officer. ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab already has a select portfolio of more than 10 technology companies, and is analysing their solutions for potential testing. The first four startups undergoing testing offer specific technologies that will soon be able to protect computer systems, increase security with a groundbreaking sensor, and allow data necessary for services to be transmitted to drivers and car passengers. Let’s take a closer look at them.
This solution features microwave sensor technology mounted on the roof of the car. The sensor monitors micro-vibrations and movements in the car. Sensor data is evaluated in real time. Consequently, the system can detect, for example, that a child’s seat is incorrectly fastened, or that a passenger is sitting incorrectly in their seat and could be injured if the airbag is deployed. It is then up to the customer how to use the information provided by the system. There are several different ways in which the car can warn its occupants.
This startup has a tool that permanently protects computer systems. It can provide preventative protection against hackers to large corporations or, for example, to cars interconnected online. As cars become increasingly interconnected and will exchange data, it is important to ensure that their computer systems are protected. The XM Cyber system periodically evaluates risks and continually searches for weaknesses throughout the network that could potentially pose a threat. It does not respond to attacks that are already under way or imminent, but prevents them.
This company specialises in data for mobility services. The main sources of data are smartphones and their applications. Anagog is able to collect information that mobile phones obtain from barometers, wifi connections, GPS systems, compasses and other functions. By collating that data, Anagogue can predict user behaviour. It already works with high precision, for example, in parking systems. The app directs the driver to an area where it expects a parking space to become free. Anagogue runs real-time data evaluations.
This startup specialises in data obtained from cars interconnected online. These days, cars already have numerous sensors and record a lot of driving information. The system then works with that information – strictly adhering to privacy in the process. Otonomo is aware that that highly accurate service and representativeness can only be achieved if data from various providers is entered into the system. In this respect, the Otonomo platform is neutral. Data processed in this way can be used in areas such as Smart City services, insurance, sales, and traffic safety.
“ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Israel Ltd. works on individual projects together with various departments of the carmaker itself and its experts who specialise in specific fields. We seek solutions tailored to the specific problems faced by the individual departments. We try to combine specific tasks with the approaches offered by technology companies in Israel,” says Vít Lichtenstein of ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Israel Ltd.
ŠKODA knows that the technological era is advancing at a rapid pace. When working with startups, then, it is important to focus on the fast progression of projects to subsequent stages so that they can be evaluated as quickly as possible and yield results. It may not be long before Israeli technology is featured in ŠKODA cars.