NYC Taxis To Be A Little Safer, Thanks To Israeli System


taxiJust how safe are New York City taxicabs? The answer is either “very” or “not too,” depending on how you look at the statistics. Either way, the city is determined to lower the number of accidents taxis are involved in – and is turning to Israeli road safety tech firm Mobileye to accomplish that.

Last week, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) Commissioner, Meera Joshi, along with other officials, announced the launch of the TLC’s Vehicle Safety Technology (VST) Pilot Program. Central to that program is the installation of Mobileye systems in cabs, with drivers getting alerts if they get too close to vehicles in front of them, veer out of their lane without signaling, tailgate, etc.

Mobileye is one of Israel’s greatest tech success stories. The technology, developed at Hebrew University by Professor Amnon Shashua based on machine vision, has gone on to become one of the world’s most important road safety systems. Mobileye is now standard on models from nearly all car makers in the US, Japan, and Europe, and the company last year produced Israel’s largest IPO ever.

According to analysts, the $890 million raised by Mobileeye in its August IPO gave the company a valuation of over $7.5 billion. By the end of 2016, the company says, its advanced system will be available in 237 car models from 20 OEMs. Among the companies Mobileye already has a deal with are BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Peugot, Volvo, Tesla, and truck manufacturers MAN SE, Scania, and IVECO.

Mobileye uses a monocular camera, which magnifies images, together with sophisticated software that calibrates how much time a driver needs to brake in order to avoid colliding with the vehicle ahead. If the driver gets too close, an alarm goes off, and in some vehicles, the software is connected to the braking system so that if the driver fails to brake in time, the system does it for him.

The Mobileye Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) also alerts drivers when they come too close to pedestrians and when they veer out of their lane, and new versions of the system can also detect cyclists, debris on the road, curbs, barriers and constructions zones, and can also detect traffic lights and can even read signs.

Read more at Times of Israel.