Modern automobiles have dozens of sensors on board. And that number is only growing as cars get more and more complex. But one company in Israel isn’t adding sensors – it’s using them in a whole new way. And Porsche, for one, has taken note.
The German performance automaker has invested an unspecified sum in Tactile Mobility, a startup that’s working on leveraging tactile data to not just “see” what’s happening with a car, but “feel” it.
Sourcing data from existing sensors, Tactile Mobility’s innovative solution monitors everything from engine and battery performance to road conditions, helping not only drivers and automakers but municipalities and road authorities determine how efficiently vehicles and transportation infrastructure are operating.
“Tactile Mobility’s method helps us collect additional information about the condition of vehicles and roads that goes beyond the information that can be obtained with conventional sensor systems,” said Porsche R&D chief Michael Steiner.
The firm is one of the growing array of smart-mobility startups surfacing in Israel. According to Porsche’s Volkswagen Group sister-brand Skoda (which also invests heavily in Israeli automotive tech), there are some 640 startups and research teams currently working in Israel on automotive projects – seven times as many as there were just six years ago.
Unlike most Israeli smart-mobility startups, however, Tactile Mobility isn’t based in the Tel Aviv area, or (like Mobileye) in the capital Jerusalem. It’s based up north in Haifa, one of the largest port cities in the eastern Mediterranean.
Alongside Porsche – which recently launched its first fully electric vehicle, called the Taycan – Union Tech Ventures and an array of existing investors participated in this latest round of funding for Tactile Mobility. “We are very excited about the confidence that Porsche has in tactile data and virtual sensor systems,” said Tactile Mobility’s CEO Amit Nisenbaum. “This investment will cement our leadership in this growing segment. By equipping intelligent vehicles with the sense of ‘touch’ and the ability to analyse tactile data, we can contribute to further improve the driving experience and make it even safer.”