Tel Aviv: Israel’s drone power translates the knowledge of air force veterans into sushi and ice cream delivery as companies leverage their expertise to avoid collisions in increasingly crowded skies.
On a grassy expanse of Tel Aviv’s waterfront, three drones flew over glistening skyscrapers this week, propellers buzzing as they descended onto the runways.
Two had sushi and a third had cans of beer.
His flight was made possible by High Lander, an Israeli company specializing in traffic control for autonomous drones, and Cando, which helps develop drone strategies for clients.
“Flying a drone is not a problem,” High Lander CEO Alon Abelson told AFP.
“We are talking about various drones … from different drone manufacturers, but they are still monitoring with our software and we can make sure they don’t collide.”
The demonstration was part of a NIS 20 million public-private initiative, or approximately $ 6 million, to promote Israel’s drone technology.
Daniella Partem, who heads the drone initiative at the Israel Innovation Authority, said she envisions “thousands” of drones flying simultaneously in overcrowded cities in the future, securing medical deliveries, beefing up police missions and speeding up takeout.
“Our goal is to create a competitive market in Israel, not dominated by a single company,” she said.
“If we can get vehicles off the road into the air, we can affect traffic, we can reduce air pollution … we can create a better and safer environment for the delivery of goods.”
Drone expert Michael Horowitz, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said Israel was making “civilian analogs” of its military drones that are getting smaller and can move and attack in coordination.
Israel’s military drone program has come under fire, especially from Palestinians in the helpless Gaza Strip, who say it induces fear and may cause harm to the civilian population.
In the commercial drone industry, Horowitz said Israel can offer a new approach to companies that tend to develop their technologies on their own.
“Many times you will have a company like Google that just oversees its own systems,” Horowitz said.
“If an Israeli company develops a locally effective drone command and control architecture that can include drones from many different companies, I could imagine many people potentially interested in this product. ”
Horowitz said advances in civilian drones could help Israel regain share of the drone market as its Chinese and Turkish rivals gobble up its military drone exports.
High Lander’s Abelson said he has clients around the world, including Japan, South Korea, France, the United States, Israel and African countries.
Manoel Coelho, CEO of Brazilian drone company Speedbird Aero, told AFP that he had used High Lander to “decongest airspace” because he was “one of the first in the world to do it that way. Also organized” .
Delivery in minutes
Other Israeli drone work remains theoretical.
Hadas Aharoni, 22, a controller of drone company Airwayz, monitored dozens of autonomous drones flying in the northern city of Hadera, though she was sitting in a control room on the busy Ayalon-Tel Aviv highway, about 50 miles south.
“We can see the flight paths where the drones take off and land, their heights, their batteries and all kinds of problems that we have to solve for the drones to arrive as they should,” said Aharoni.
Until now, drones have conducted training missions to install landing strips in the city.
“When there are more flight programs in the future, we verify that this system is stable,” she said.Israeli companies take note of the development of the industry.
Ice cream chain Golda opened a pop-up beachfront boutique in Tel Aviv where customers could scan a QR code and order frozen treats via drones.
“In less than 10 minutes you can receive your order, which you cannot do with normal vehicles,” said Talya Marder, marketing manager.