Cabinet Approves National NIS 250 Million Plan to Advance Smart Transportation
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
The Cabinet, this morning (Sunday, 22 January 2017), approved a national plan for smart transportation, for advancing and strengthening the smart transportation industry in Israel, in order to promote innovative solutions for the transportation network in Israel. The budget will for the plan will be approximately NIS 250 million, to be spread over five years. The national plan for smart transportation, which will complement the national plan for alternative fuels, is in continuation of Government decisions on advancing and positioning Israel as a leader in various transportation technologies. To this end, the Cabinet decided to change the name of the authority to "The Alternative Fuels and Smart Transportation Administration." The steering committee for the plan will be chaired by Prime Minister's Office Director General Eli Groner and Transportation Ministry Director General Karen Turner.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"I welcome this important move. Israel has a relative advantage in the ability to produce conceptual products. This stems from the business environment that we have created here; therefore, the Government must allow this to grow and also to prevent overregulation. We did this in cyber and we will do so here as well. We will remove impediments to this industry that is developing very quickly and it will assist in implementing smart transportation on Israel's highways."
The State of Israel has an outstanding advantage in areas that are vital to the revolution that is overtaking the global transportation industry including processing big data, artificial intelligence, sensor systems and integration between systems. The goal of the plan is to position the Israeli high-tech industry as a global leader in the field, which – according to various estimates – will reach a global market share of approximately $ 7 trillion in 2030, and provide Israelis with transportation services that are among the best in the world.
Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz noted that Israeli technology in general, and autonomous technologies in particular, have a great influence on quality of life, including that of our children, and added that Israel is at the forefront pf the field vis-à-vis technology systems for automatic vehicles. "Transportation technologies contribute to road safety, to easing congestion and to the quality of the air we breathe. The Government of Israel and the Transportation Ministry will continue to invest in technological research and development for the benefit of the citizens of the country," he said.
Prime Minister's Office Director General Eli Groner:
"Whole industries that seemed to be the same thing for 6-70 years are now on the verge of dramatic changes. Just as smartphones have become an inseparable part of our lives, the same may be expected for smart transportation. The State of Israel may play a significant role in this global market which could lead to significant economic growth. We have a genuine chance to be a global leader in the field."
PMO National Economic Council Chairman Prof. Avi Simhon:
"We are on the verge of a revolution that will enable us to double the Israeli economy. Today the state of Israel has a rare opportunity to become a leading player in the global vehicle sector. Technological changes in the field have created a new situation – instead of producing the Sussita car, we can do something we can excel at: Write algorithms, develop new technologies and achieve a significant share of market estimated in the trillions of dollars."
Alternative Fuels and Smart Transportation Administration Acting Director Dr. Anat Bonstein:
"Locally, promoting smart transportation solutions in the Israeli market will improve the supply of transportation services in the country, reduce travel time and costs and reduce the negative financial expenses stemming from congested highways, air pollution and road accidents."
The new plan was formulated following joint Transportation Ministry-PMO staff work led by Dr. Bonstein and Prof. Simhon and in broad consultation with leaders in the high tech industry as well as in both local and global transportation industries. The plan includes field experiments for innovative technologies in cooperation with commercial and government companies, building a testing are for autonomous and other vehicles, establishing a cross-sector national research center in cooperation with the Council for Higher Education, increasing accessibility to transportation data banks and the high-resolution mapping of the State of Israel.
The plan will have a steering and implementation committee chaired by PMO Director General Groner and Transportation Ministry Director General Turner with the participation of representatives from the Alternative Fuels and Smart Transportation Administration, the Finance Ministry Budget Division, the PMO National Economic Council and the Economy and Industry Ministry Innovation Authority.
The committee will advance the overall implementation of the 2017-2021 plan by the various relevant ministries and include – inter alia – the following steps:
* Advancing the establishment of a testing center for autonomous vehicles that support smart transportation. In this context, the committee will make recommendations regarding methods of financing and the building an operation of the center.
* Locating, producing and increasing accessibility for the information infrastructures necessary for research and development in – and the growth of – the smart transportation industry in Israel including mapping and increasing accessibility to relevant data banks as well as the high resolution mapping of Israel's highways or a portion thereof.
* Promoting professional academic cooperation in the field of smart transportation in cooperation with the Council on Higher Education Budgeting and Planning Committee. In this framework, the committee will work to foster intra- and inter-disciplinary academic cooperation in the field of smart transportation as well as cross-sector cooperation between government, academia, industry and initiatives.
* Advancing field experiments and pilot projects in new technologies and operational concepts in the transportation sector with the potential of lessening congestion, reducing traffic accidents, decreasing the use of petroleum and encouraging the use of public transportation.
* Formulating and promoting the steps involved in experimentation and the operation and provision of smart transportation services, cooperative transportation and the realization/implementation of complementary means for shaping and changing behavior. To this end the committee will make recommendations to the relevant legal authorities regarding – inter alia – appropriate legislative updates, adapting rules of the road for autonomous vehicles, adapting vehicle licensing procedures and communication frequencies.
* Initiating feasibility studies for the above technologies in cooperation with the US government in keeping with the bilateral agreement, and examining other possibilities for international research cooperation.
* Promoting a supportive business environment among the entrepreneurial community as well as cross-sector cooperation in the field.
* The global marketing of Israeli industrial activity in the field of smart transportation and strengthening the position of Israel as an attractive focus for international companies in the field.
* Advancing dialogue and the sharing of information between industry and academia in the field of smart transportation via designated events and other means.