The Israeli Ministry of Transport has partnered with the Israel Innovation Authority, the government's tech investment arm, to launch a new $8.5 million venture to encourage pilots of smart mobility technologies. The Prime Minister's Office is also a partner through its fuel choices and smart mobility initiative.
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This is the first innovation authority venture that supports pilots and not companies in advanced stages of research and development.
The new program is open to Israel-registered startups developing smart mobility technologies such as electric, smart, or autonomous vehicles and vehicle sharing ventures. Other relevant technologies include those intended to reduce pollution and use of fuel, fight traffic accidents, reduce road congestion, and encourage use of public transportation. The program will also promote the implementation of innovative technologies into Israel's public transportation system, and encourage ventures intended to streamline relevant regulation.
"It is often said that regulation, and not technology, is what prevents our world from advancing," said in a statement Aharon Aharon, director of the innovation authority. Having these pilots and programs operate in real environments with matched regulation will enable those companies to provide proof of concept and quickly integrate into the market, he added.
The program will finance 20%- 50% of the participants' research and development expenses. Companies developing technologies that could make a drastic improvement to Israeli transportation will receive 75%. The grant will not constitute an equity investment, but participating companies will pay the authority royalties if their technology reaches commercialization.
The deadline for application is August 4, and answers are expected in November.