Aeronautics Advanced UAS systems enter service in Mexico

The Mexican government is bringing into operational service the Aerostar tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS) built by Israel’s Aeronautics. The system was supplied by Mexico’s Balam Security (Balam Seguridad privada S.A. de C.V.), a vendor of military equipment and security systems in Latin America. The size of the deal was not disclosed, but it is estimated at $15 million, including the peripheral systems and support and integration services. Under the agreement, Balam Security is providing active and comprehensive support to install the Aerostars and is performing all the necessary integration work. The Aerostar with Mexico is the second UAS contract with the Mexican government won by Balam Security. Aeronautics previously supplied Mexico its Dominator XP UAV with the help of Balam Security. The system successfully completed its full operational integration last year.

Balam Security has supplied the next-generation Aerostar – a tactical UAV with a range of advanced intelligence gathering tools, advanced digital communications capabilities, ground control station, and optional interface with the customer’s command and control system. The Aerostar is in service with 15 security services, armies, and intelligence organizations worldwide. In the past few years, the Aerostar has been in service with the Allies in Afghanistan and other territories. Overall, aircrafts using the system have undertaken more than 120,000 operational flight hours.

“The Aerostar UAS’s entry to operational service with the Mexican government is an important milestone for Balam Security, and one of the important developments since the deal was signed,” said Balam Security CEO Asaf Zanzuri. “The Aerostar UAV will allow the Mexicans to gather intelligence and benefit from the real-time target acquisition and surveillance capabilities, while integrating with the client’s current systems. The project includes the supply of all the peripheral systems and operational support for the UAV, the communications systems, and the distribution of reliable intelligence in real time, as well as the training of the operating crews and technicians. Balam Security’s support teams will continue to assist the customer and support its range of operations.”

Balam Security added that the project is unique because of its use of advanced cyber systems for intelligence gathering. In the past year, Balam Security has greatly expanded its business in Latin America, supplying diverse cyber-based intelligence systems and control rooms to the Colombian and Chilean governments. The company’s customers include the Mexican Army and Navy, the Chilean National Police, and the National Police of Peru.

Israeli AdaSky launches a thermal FIR Sensing Solution for autonomous cars

, an Israeli startup comprised of industry veterans from the Israeli semiconductor and sensor market, launches the first Far Infrared (FIR) perception solution specifically designed for the automotive industry. The solution combines an FIR thermal camera with advanced computer vision algorithms to let autonomous vehicles see and understand the road and their surroundings in any conditions.

AdaSky’s first product, Viper, is comprised of a high-performing thermal camera and state-of-the-art machine vision algorithms, together in one complete solution, that can be added to any autonomous vehicle to enable it to see better and analyze its surroundings. Viper passively collects FIR signals through detection of thermal energy radiated from objects and their body heat. AdaSky’s algorithms process the signals collected by the camera to provide accurate object detection and scene analysis, giving the vehicle the ability to precisely detect pedestrians at a few hundreds of meters, allowing more distance in which to react to driving decisions.

Viper is the first high-resolution, thermal camera for autonomous vehicles with minimal size, weight and power consumption and no moving parts – at a price suited for mass market. Viper generates a new layer of information, originated from a different band of the electromagnetic spectrum, significantly increasing performance for classification, identification, and detection of objects and of vehicle surroundings, both near and far range.

“We saw a powerful opportunity in the market. The most basic need for an autonomous vehicle is to be able to see and interpret what is happening around it, regardless of road conditions. Existing sensors and cameras available today can’t meet this need on their own,” said AdaSky Founder, President and CEO, Avi Katz. “To address this, we turned to FIR technology, which has been proven in other vertical industries and is mature enough to scale. We adapted the technology for the automotive industry and have been able to create a solution that performs at its best in use cases where other sensors fail.”

Founded in January 2016, AdaSky recently came out of stealth mode and began delivering Viper prototypes for evaluation to tier-one suppliers and automotive OEMs.

“Feedback from testing has reflected that thermal sensing, in combination with the other sensors, can greatly improve general object, pedestrian, and animal detection. Our FIR technology enables perception even beyond what evaluators initially thought possible,” said Dror Meiri, VP of business development, AdaSky. “The time for FIR in the automotive industry is now. The technology is designed for scalability and automotive OEMs and new entrants know that to reach their vision of the fully-autonomous vehicle they need to achieve higher levels of perception and sight. Our camera and computer vision algorithms, trained by large amounts of annotated data that we’ve collected, will empower the car of the future.”

“The race towards the first fully-autonomous vehicle has begun. Prototypes are already being tested worldwide, and leading car manufacturers and technology leaders are well on the way to developing their own vehicles for commercialization. To achieve, vehicles need a fail-safe perception solution to enable sight and understanding of the road with complete accuracy, in all weather and lighting conditions. This remains a challenge to this day,” said Angelos Lakrintis, Strategy Analytics, industry analyst for the Autonomous Vehicles Service (AVS). “The market needs a new solution to unlock the potential of the autonomous vehicle. An FIR solution, such as AdaSky’s may be a solution to bridge the gap and expedite deployment of L3, L4 or L5 cars.”

AdaSky is not claiming to replace other sensors on the market today, but, rather, to add an essential, additional layer to the vehicle’s perception-ability that enables car manufacturers to realize the goal of the fully autonomous vehicle. Viper is available for testing, evaluation and sampling to customers and partners.

Orbotech scores yet another major deal in China

Israeli inspection solutions developer Orbotech announced that Chinese Flat screen producer Visionox has chosen the one of the company´s inspection solutions. The deal includes a large number of Orbotech AOI systems for TFT (thin-film transistor) Array and OLED-related layers for inspection and classification. The new Gen 6 fab is located in Gu’an Hebei, China. Delivery is expected at the beginning of 2018.

Among the solutions provided is the Orbotech Quantum Flex series, which looks to resolve challenges that manufacturers typically face with OLED flexible display processes. The production process required for flexible OLED panels is more sophisticated and complex than the process required for LCD panel manufacturing. This solution simultaneously inspects each panel multiple times in the same scan using different modalities, such as various light wave lengths and alternative angles. Each modality provides an alternate perspective of the inspected pattern, and enables wider coverage of materials, patterns and defect types. The solution includes unique technologies to address the requirements of flexible OLED panel inspection.

“We are pleased to work with Orbotech and to implement its flexible OLED display inspection solutions,” said Mr. Ming Zhang, Vice President of YUNGU (Gu’an) Technology Co., LTD. “We expect that the implementation of Orbotech solutions in our new Gen 6 fab in Gu’an Hebei will contribute to our reputation for producing superior flexible OLED display products.”

“We are happy to collaborate with Visionox to provide our state-of-the-art advanced yield management solutions for flexible OLED displays,” said Mr. Edu Meytal, President of Orbotech Pacific Display. “We believe that our end-to-end AOI solutions will contribute significantly to the success of production processes for electronic personal devices.”

Israeli LiDAR developer Innoviz Technologies Raises $65M

Technologies, a leading provider of LiDAR sensing solutions designed for the mass commercialization of autonomous vehicles, announced today that it has raised $65 million in Series B funding as its LiDAR solution moves into mass production. Strategic partners and global players in automated driving solutions Delphi Automotive PLC and Magna International participated in the round, along with additional new investors including 360 Capital Partners, Glory Ventures, Naver and others. All Series A investors, including Zohar Zisapel, Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures and Delek Motors, participated in this round. A second closing of this round is expected to be announced soon, introducing additional strategic partners.

“Innoviz has delivered the industry’s first high-performance LiDAR solution that perfectly meets all of the requirements necessary to take fully autonomous vehicles mainstream,” sa

The Innoviz team

id Nicolas Autret, Partner at 360 Capital Partners. “Based on the impressive adoption Innoviz has generated to date and the extremely talented team they’ve put together, it’s evident that the market has made its decision on who is going to win the LiDAR race and unlock the market’s vast potential.”

Becoming an industry standard

With over 75 employees today, the company has grown quickly since its inception in January 2016 and has achieved a number of significant milestones. Founded by former members of the elite technological unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, Innoviz landed a $9 million Series A round in February 2016, and just a few months later revealed its first prototype while also announcing the expected deployment of InnovizOne™. In December 2016, Innoviz publicly announced its first partnership with the leading Tier 1 automotive supplier, Magna International Inc, enabling Magna and Innoviz to jointly collaborate on various OEM programs. In May 2017, Innoviz announced a partnership with manufacturing company Jabil Optics to mass produce InnovizPro. In August 2017, Innoviz signed a commercial partnership agreement with Delphi, a leader in autonomous driving software and sensors, to integrate its LiDAR into Delphi’s systems and create an industry-leading standard for LiDAR integration into autonomous driving

Innoviz’s  precise and sophisticated sensing technology also enables it to provide a superior algorithmic layer that uses deep learning to turn 3D vision into critical driving insights. By providing advanced software solutions in areas such as HD mapping and SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping), the company is able to deliver the superior object detection and classification necessary to move the industry towards mass commercialization.

Innoviz hopes that the funding will enable it to take its technology to mass production while scaling its computer vision activity, forging new strategic collaborations, and penetrating new areas of development. The company will also hire aggressively to fill positions in engineering, design, sales and other key functions, as well as open new support offices in important regions.

Mazor Robotics and Medtronic Enter Next Phase of Strategic Partnership

CAESAREA, Israel based Mazor Robotics , medtech company focusing in the field of surgical guidance systems, announced that it has entered the next phase of its strategic partnership with Medtronic earlier than planned and their existing agreements have been amended accordingly. The agreements provide for the conversion of the commercial relationship between the parties, with Medtronic assuming exclusive worldwide distribution of the Mazor X system, and Medtronic making a $40 million third tranche investment in Mazor. These developments are a result of the early achievement of certain sales and marketing milestones by both companies, as well as higher than expected global market acceptance and demand for the Mazor X system. Medtronic and Mazor originally entered into a strategic agreement in May 2016.

“Medtronic is our valued strategic partner and together we have achieved the desired outcome for Phase I well ahead of our original plan,” commented Ori Hadomi, Chief Executive Officer. “I believe that the move to this next phase reinforces our significant leadership position in the growing market for surgical guidance systems for spine procedures. Our strategic partnership will allow hospitals in new markets around the world to have access to the Mazor X and gain the clinical benefits that this technology offers.

Mazor´s global distributor

“The strategic partnership between Mazor and Medtronic has already resulted in 59 Mazor X system orders since the October 2016 launch and reflects an accelerated sales cycle due to customers’ eagerness to adopt our solutions for the spine market,” added Mr. Hadomi. “Now, as commercial responsibility for the Mazor X in the spine market shifts to Medtronic, the annual minimums for sale of Mazor X systems agreed to by the two companies are expected to drive substantial improvement in Mazor’s financial results during the next several years. Together we will be able to further advance our robust jointly-developed product pipeline for the spine market, to make a difference for patients while Mazor also pursues new opportunities to apply our innovative technologies to other medical needs.”

“Moving to the next phase of our strategic partnership demonstrates our shared passion for transforming how spine surgery is done,” said Doug King, senior vice president & president of the Medtronic Spine division, which is part of Medtronic’s Restorative Therapies Group. “Mazor Robotics’ technology and Medtronic’s navigation capabilities and implant systems provide spine surgeons with complete procedural solutions that advance the standard of care and will help surgeons maximize predictability and efficiency.”

Mazor will continue to manufacture and recognize revenues for Mazor X system sales, disposable kits and service fees all of which will be sold at contractual pricing agreed with Medtronic. The contracted pricing is at a lower rate than Mazor realized through its direct sales channel. In addition, Mazor will be entitled to certain synergy fees associated with the use of Medtronic implants in Mazor Robotics’ installed base. Moving from direct sales to a strategic distribution model is expected to immediately reduce Mazor’s annual operating expenses by approximately $13 million. Trailing 12-month operating expenses for Mazor totaled $52.7 million.

Israeli Orbotech signs signs multi-million-dollar deal with German Unimicron

German unimicron, one the leading European PCB manufacturers, is currently rebuilding a recently destroyed manufacturing plant. Orbotech to supply Unimicron with Industry 4.0-compliant DI, AOI and AOS PCB Production Solutions for new state-of-the-art facility.

Yavne, Israel based Orbotech, a leading global supplier of yield-enhancing and process-enabling solutions for the manufacture of electronics products, today announced a multi-million-dollar agreement with Unimicron Germany GmbH (formerly RUWEL International) for the purchase of Orbotech’s direct imaging (DI), automated optical inspection (AOI) and automated optical shaping (AOS) PCB production solutions. Unimicron Germany is in the process of rebuilding its inner layer fab as a fully automated Industry 4.0, state-of-the-art facility, and upgrading its Outerlayer and Solder Mask capacity and capabilities.

Unimicron Germany GmbH specializes in high-end, high-reliability manufacturing for automotive electronics, renewable energy and industrial markets. The site is expected to be fully functional in the first half of 2018.

Among the Orbotech solutions Unimicron Germany has ordered are the latest members of the Nuvogo™ family for direct imaging; Orbotech Diamond™ 8 for high throughput solder mask direct imaging; Fusion™ 22 AOI with 2D metrology in process quality control (IPQC); Precise™ 800 AOS system for 3D shaping of any layer HDI and complex multi-layer boards; and Orbotech Smart Factory for Industry 4.0-compliant, integrated PCB production.

“Following the fire which devastated our facility last year, we have a unique opportunity to rebuild and improve on our past successes,” said Mr. Gerard van Dierendonck, CEO of Unimicron Germany. “We are committed to making the facility more environmentally and energy friendly, as well as ensuring the highest level of flexibility with the lowest total cost of ownership. We selected Orbotech’s solutions because they enable us to achieve our goals and are the best fit for our customers’ present and anticipated production and technology needs.”

“We are delighted to be able to provide a wide range of PCB production solutions as part of Unimicron Germany’s rebuilding project and to further deepen our relationship,” stated Mr. Sharon Cohen, President of Orbotech West. “Our Industry 4.0-compliant solutions meet Unimicron’s specific advanced technology and reliability needs and enable and ensures traceability, which is critical for automotive and other high-reliability PCB applications. In addition, our comprehensive customer service offering, with our one-stop monitoring center, is designed to provide pro-active, preventative measures which can troubleshoot any potential issues, such as downtime, before they even occur.”

“Orbotech’s solutions are a perfect fit for our strategy moving forward and our aim of building the most modern inner layer factory possible,” said Mr. Rico Schlüter, CTO of Unimicron Germany. “As the European PCB industry continues to make significant changes, we are determined to invest in state-of-the-art equipment that will grow with us.”

Alibaba deploys Israeli Mellanox’s RoCE Ethernet adapters

Israeli Mellanox Technologies, a supplier of high-performance, end-to-end interconnect solutions for data center servers and storage systems, announced that Mellanox’s 25GbE and 100GbE ConnectX-4 EN family of Ethernet adapters has been deployed in the data centers of Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile ecommerce company. The announcement reflects Mellanox’s continued investment in China, aligning on-going technology and product development efforts with key customers. “Spurred on by Mellanox’s continued strategic investment in the region, China overall is migrating to 25/100G.”

The ConnectX-4 Network Interface Cards (NICs) includes advanced technologies including:RoCE – RDMA over Converged Ethernet. RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access) technology is designed to solve the delay of server-side data processing in network transmission. RDMA enables network adapters to access the application buffer directly, bypassing the kernel, the CPU, and the protocol stack, so the CPU can perform more useful tasks during the I/O transport. This improves server performance, thus enabling application workloads to be highly scalable with high bandwidth networks.

RDMA (RoCE), based on converged Ethernet, can be implemented on an existing open Ethernet network. With RoCE, there is no need to convert data centers legacy infrastructures, which allows companies to save on capital spending.

RoCE enables introducing RDMA technology seamlessly into an Ethernet data center, which benefits applications by making them more efficient, without requiring massive changes to the current network infrastructure.

China overall is migrating to 25/100G Ethernet

DPDK provides a simple and complete framework for fast packet processing in data plane applications. The tool set allows developers to rapidly build new prototypes.

The Mellanox open source DPDK software aims to enable industry standard servers and provides the best performance to support large-scale, efficient production deployments of Network Function Virtualization (NFV) solutions such as gateways, load balancers, and enhanced security solutions that help prevent denial of service attacks in the data center.

“This deployment demonstrates our commitment to the China market underscored by the collaboration with Alibaba,” said Amir Prescher, vice president of business development, Mellanox Technologies. “Spurred on by Mellanox’s continued strategic investment in the region, China overall is migrating to 25/100G.”