With more start-ups per capita than any other country, Israel holds the status of a start-up leader. In 2017, Israeli tech start-ups raised a total of $5.24 billion from investors, and almost 20% of that sum is directed towards AI companies . Currently, there are more than 430 start-ups in Israel using artificial intelligence technology as a core part of their offering. While AI is already a huge part of everyday life in areas like banking, healthcare, and security, Israel is helping take the technology to the next step with driverless cars .
In northern Israel, right on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, lies the University of Haifa. The public research university has been chosen by Chinese millionaire Zong Qinghou as the location of a new center for artificial intelligence research. Qinghou plans to provide the university with at least $10 million over five years.
The new research center at University of Haifa will seek to develop the technology behind driverless cars. More specifically, the center will focus on improving the camera lens that driverless cars use. Improvements to the lens are necessary to improve the safety of driverless cars, ensuring that they are safe and perfectly operational in all kinds of weather, including rain and fog. Other Israeli universities, such as the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, also located in Haifa, have paired up with automakers to further advance with the hope of perfecting driverless technology. Further research being conducted at the University of Haifa includes various other fields of artificial intelligence, such as bio-technology, big data applications and biometric identification .
Further down the coast, at Tel Aviv University, Professor Amir Globerson, a researcher at the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, insists that the possibilities of artificial intelligence extend far beyond driverless cars. In fact, he claims that soon, AI will be aiding in the completion of daily tasks and will improve safety and security. Professor Globerson, along with other researchers at the university, are focusing on narrowing the gap between the tasks that machines and humans can do. They’re doing this by attempting to figure out the types of algorithms that would be needed to help machines understand natural speech, language, and visual cues . Determining these algorithms could be the final step in developing technology that will help humans in their everyday life.
The research being conducted at these universities, as well as the AI firms already established in Israel, are beginning to offer machine learning solutions to areas such as industry, technology, and marketing. Right now, Israel is an absolute breeding ground for AI innovation, and as research progresses, we will only witness more growth and advancement of technology than ever imagined.
Written by Rachel Weissman & Edited by Alexander Fleiss
 Gutierrez, C. M., Jr. (2018, February 14). Israel is becoming an artificial intelligence powerhouse. Retrieved from http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/israel-is-becoming-an-artificial-intelligence-powerhouse-2/
 Leichman, A. K. (2017, October 31). 17 Israeli companies pioneering artificial intelligence. Retrieved from https://www.israel21c.org/17-israeli-companies-pioneering-artificial-intelligence/
 Schindler, M. (2017, September 23). Chinese millionaire to set up artificial intelligence lab in Haifa. Retrieved from https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Chinese-millionaire-to-set-up-artificial-intelligence-lab-in-Haifa-505742
 Jaffe-Hoffman, M. (2018, May 01). Tel Aviv University's smart artificial intelligence program. Retrieved from https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Tel-Aviv-Universitys-smart-artificial-intelligence-program-553218
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