On Sunday in Intel has announced a new start-up initiative to help Israel develop cutting-edge AI (artificial intelligence), and autonomous systems.
Intel and industry experts are to train 15-20 Israeli startups in a 20-week business and technical mentorship. Tzahi Weisfeld, former global head of Microsoft for Startups will be leading the program.
The initiative called Ignite will be based in Tel Aviv. Israeli start-ups are the prime target this year. Intel also announced it expects to expand to other countries in case the Israeli efforts achieve positive impact.
According to Bob Swan, Intel’s CEO, “Intel has always worked in concert with open ecosystems to scale new technologies so they can be transformational for our customers, business and society.”
“Israel has the deep skill base in AI, autonomous systems, and the underlying technologies critical to these inflections that make it a natural choice to launch our Ignite program.”
Intel and Israel
The Intel Corporation, based in Silicon Valley, is one of the biggest exporters and employers in Israel. Many of Intel’s new technologies are developed there. In early 2019, it decided to invest $11 billion in a new production plant, bringing thousands of jobs to the blue-collar area of Kiryat Gat, Isreal.
In 2017, it acquired Mobileye, an Israeli autonomous-vehicle technology for $15.3 billion. This was a part of Intel’s plan to strengthen its position in the autonomous vehicle industry.
Mobileye’s REM platform was to be used in a variety of autonomous systems for a number of carmakers. Its HD mapping solution is based on data collected by REM compatible vehicles.
The info collected will allow autonomous cars to share information such as weather data, construction info, or even incident reports, and help drivers avoid traffic jams and find the shortest, most enjoyable driving routes.
Additionally, one of Intel’s biggest markets is China. This adds some weight to the fact that the U.S. Commerce Department banned Huawei Technologies from buying components and parts from U.S. companies without the approval of the U.S. government.
As Huawei is one of Intel’s most important customers, this decision could have far-reaching consequences. An effort to expand and invest in alternative markets seems like a logical step.
“What we intend to do is be very focused on serving customers around the world but at the same time abide by the rules. We aren’t shipping anything that’s specified on the entity list,” said Swan.