At the Smart Mobility Summit, ŠKODA AUTO CEO Bernhard Maier emphasised, “The finishing-line photo that we have defined as part of our 2025 Strategy shows ŠKODA as the ‘Simply Clever company for the best mobility solutions’. We are pressing ahead with the digital transformation across the entire business and are now also bringing the first projects that we’ve developed in collaboration with Israeli tech start-ups onto the roads and into our customers’ devices.”
Chief Digital Officer at ŠKODA AUTO, Andre Wehner, added, “We are consistently using the ideas of start-ups to implement our strategy for mobility and digitalisation. At the same time, our labs offer start-ups the ideal setting to develop interesting ideas and projects. We support the implementation of these with our expertise.”
The recently launched Citymove app, for example, will always know the fastest and most convenient route to the destination: users can compile, book and pay for the best mix of mobility options. The app is about to use Anagog’s AI software, which is unique among its competitors and can also be used to predict when parking spaces will become free as well as to personalise services. In July 2018, ŠKODA AUTO acquired a stake in the start-up, allowing ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab to further expand its range of customised mobility services.
The collaboration with the Israeli IT security experts at XM Cyber is already highly successful and is now entering its second year: the cyber security technology developed there is already being used in ŠKODA’s internal IT processes.
As a hotspot for young entrepreneurs and the IT experts of tomorrow, Israel, and the Tel Aviv-Jaffa metropolitan region in particular, provides great potential for numerous other profitable collaborations and successful projects. There are currently around 640 start-ups and research teams in Israel working on automotive projects – that is seven times as many as in 2013.
The Smart Mobility Summit, Israel’s most prominent event relating to new mobility, also highlighted the dynamics of the local start-up scene. At the same time, it provided an ideal setting to offer a concrete look ahead at upcoming mobility solutions and new ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Israel Ltd collaborations.
At present, the innovation hub is working with several particularly innovative technology companies. Seven of these are already in a concrete project development phase and one is about to launch its products.
Chakratec has developed a kinetic energy storage system that absorbs peak loads in the grid and makes it possible to operate ultra-fast charging stations, even in remote areas. What’s more, it also allows for a virtually unlimited number of high-power charge and discharge cycles, and – as it makes use of a mechanical flywheel instead of chemical batteries – this technology is extremely eco-friendly. The Chakratec Kinetic Power Booster is scheduled to be installed in Prague soon.
Guardian Optical Technologies develops sensors based on microwave technology. They detect the smallest of vibrations and movements in the car and process this data in real time. This allows the system for example to identify if a child seat has not been secured properly or if a seat belt has not been fastened correctly.
At the same time, ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Israel Ltd is continuously pressing ahead with establishing further connections in the local start-up and tech scene. Recently, the company sealed deals on five new collaboration projects: Together with Technical Development at ŠKODA AUTO, Silentium is working on an active noise control system for vehicle cabins to considerably improve the level of comfort while travelling. Neteera is developing an innovative chip located in the driver’s seat backrest. From there, it monitors parameters such as breathing and blood pressure, allowing driver fatigue to be detected and an alert to be triggered in a timely manner. ContinUse Biometrics is working on an optical sensor, which keeps track on a variety of different physiological metrics, which enables the system to identify changes in driver competence, health and comfort conditions. Intervyo is opening up new opportunities in a quite different field: the tool makes the job of Human Resources employees easier by checking the applicants’ details for their qualities and skills. It can discover individual strengths or any other valuable experiences in their careers that are not listed in their CVs even though they could make an applicant a suitable candidate. The virtual analysis assists in filling vacancies with suitable talent and provides new options. In line with the principles of Industry 4.0, Seebo, on the other hand, offers intelligent solutions for predictive maintenance as well as quality control.
ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Israel, an Israeli spin-off of ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab Prague Ltd, started its work at the beginning of 2018. Just like the Prague-based lab, it aims to use local knowledge to strengthen ŠKODA AUTO’s development expertise in digitalisation. The joint venture with the Israeli ŠKODA importer, Champion Motors, works on innovative ideas, assists ŠKODA AUTO in identifying new hardware and software solutions, and develops products for the individual mobility of the future. The aim is to develop new business models with start-ups that have a certain degree of maturity and technology companies. Hardware innovations as well as the digitalisation of the company and all its company processes are another focus.