Juganu Made the Brazil-Paraguay Border Safer

Juganu from Or Yehuda (near Tel-Aviv) deployed smart city platform along the “Friendship Bridge”, one of the central border crossing points connecting Brazil and Paraguay. Its Foam platform (above), incorporates dynamic lighting sources that change their hues throughout the day in accordance with natural lighting, a communications network, cameras and AI engines. The network includes about 100 lighting posts and 200 cameras.

The 600 yards long “Friendship Bridge” connects the Brazilian city of Foz de Iguaçu with the city of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. The bridge is crossed by about 100,000 people on foot and about 40,000 cars on a daily basis. This border point constitutes a major economic axis that facilitates the transit of goods between the countries, but also a busy smuggling route. Traffic congestion makes it difficult to eradicate the phenomenon and the federal government in Brazil has sought a technological solution to increase supervision and deterrence. Juganu’s network provides lighting for the entire zone, a Wi-Fi network, and AI-based security solution.

Collaboration with the CorSight

The AI ​​engine embedded in Juganu’s modules created by CorSight from Israel which specializes in AI-based face recognition. CorSight is a spin-off of Cortica, a company that developed unique AI technology for autonomous learning in an unsupervised manner. In fact, this technology allows the network to identify people’s faces and cars’ license plates even before they reach the border control. The information is cross-checked in real-time with the databases of the federal police, and creates instant notifications of a suspected person or vehicle. The system was also trained to identify and alert suspicious behaviors.

Similarity between the Lighting and the Communications networks

Established in 2011, Juganu has developed a public LED lighting technology that automatically adjusts the level and hue of light to the changing conditions of natural lighting around it. The company estimates that the type of lighting it produces reduces public electricity consumption by about 80%, while providing a visually comfortable type of lighting that is similar to sunlight and is near-full spectrum.

Based on the structural similarity between lighting networks and communications networks, i.e., the fixed dispersion between every point in order to achieve continuous coverage, Juganu has developed a communications network on top of the lighting poles that provides the needed infrastructure for smart city and safe city services.

Each lighting post consists of two HD cameras, a processing engine and a communication node. The solution enables smart city services on top of streetlights, without the need for cabling or the deployment of optical fibers. The development was done in collaboration with Qualcomm, and the solution includes several of Qualcomm’s chips.

ElectReon Raised $50 Million for EV Charging in Motion

The year 2020 is a critical year for Electreon Wireless from Beit Yanai, near Tel Aviv. The company has almost completed the viability tests of its unique Wireless Electric Roads (ERS) technology, and now is preparing itself for the next phase: commercialization and large scale projects. This week it gained the trust of some of Israel’s biggest institutional Investors, such as Migdal, Psagot, Mor, Excellence and more, who invested US$50 million in the company.

Electreon Wireless was established in 2013 and developed a new concept of Electric Road: It makes use of Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer via electromagnetic fields produced under the roadbed, to charge the batteries of passing Electric Vehicles, thus allows for smaller and cheaper batteries, and new services such as “Charge as a Service”.

The system consists of a copper coils as road infrastructure placed under the road at the center of the traffic lane; A receiver located under the vehicle chassis; Communication system to provides real-time communication with each vehicle and a Power station – An underground system that transmits the energy to the road’s infrastructure.

Prior to the last investment round, Electreon had achieved a major milestone: It had completed a test of dynamic wireless charging of a 40 ton long haul electric truck on the island of Gotland, Sweden. The test verified that the road infrastructure successfully functions in real life conditions and that the system is not affected by snow or rain.

Charging a moving truck on the island of Gotland, Sweden
Charging a moving truck on the island of Gotland, Sweden

The test was conducted on a public stretch of electric road, that was deployed in November 2019, between the airport and the town of Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland. The system provided dynamic charging of the truck on a 50 meter section at a speed of up to 30 km/h. The results proved that the system operated while the truck was on the move and all the receivers functioned and transferred 45 kW to the truck’s battery. Additional electric road segments will be deployed and an electric bus will be in commercial operation as an airport shuttle.

The company is expecting to complete full commissioning of its demo projects in Tel Aviv and Sweden by the end of 2020. Those projects include a 25-30 km deployment that will charge heavy-duty trucks in Sweden, and a 10 km shared deployment for public transportation and other commercial users in Tel Aviv. The company also plans to establish a local presence in selected new markets such as GermanyItalyFranceCaliforniaIndia, and Latin America, and to use the funds to accelerate the development of commercial projects.

3d Signals expands its presence in Germany

Photo above: Installing 3d Signals’ sensor in a production line. The digitization begins with data collection

The Kfar Saba-based (near Tel Aviv) 3d Signals, which has developed a solution for digitalization, monitoring and analytics of manufacturing machines, has reported that since the beginning of 2020 it had increased its installing base in Europe, and especially in Germany. Germany’s industrial sector is prominent in the production of heavy machinery, automotive, electronics, engineering and chemicals – and is ideal candidate for 3d Signals’ solutions.

The German industry constitutes the company’s main target market, where it is active via a local subsidiary located in the Frankfurt area. 3d Signals’ VP of Marketing, Danya Golan, told Techtime that COVID-19 crisis strongly affected business continuity in many factories, who urgently needed remote managing capabilities. “During the crisis, we have generated new customers in Europe and are providing them with online support,” she said.

The pilot program led to a new direction

3d Signals was founded in 2015 and has raised $26 million to date. The company was recently selected to participate in the prestigious Technology Pioneers program of the World Economic Forum. It started by developing a platform for forecasting malfunctions in industrial machines, based on external acoustic sensors. The solution aroused great interest in the industry, but a pilot program with industrial partners proved to be a disappointment: The insights it had produced gave only limited value to the production managers.

Danya Golan, VP of Marketing at 3d Signals
Danya Golan, VP of Marketing at 3d Signals

Danya: “Predictive maintenance is today a big buzz in the industry, but sometime the value of these tools is quite limited. Our system, for example, knew which component was going to break down in which machine. It was very impressive, but it did not contribute much to the ongoing operation of the entire production line”.

Following lessons learned, the company recalculated its vision, and transformed itself from sensor-oriented to system-oriented provider. It abandoned the focus on acoustic sensors and malfunction prediction, and adopted a digital approach to allow factories to transform themselves from “stupid” factories to “smart” ones; a system suitable for any production machine, regardless of model or role of its independent units.

The “Smart Factory” is not so smart

The term ‘Industry 4.0’ has been around for several years, but is far from being wide spread. According to Cisco, less than 10% of the tens of millions of manufacturing machines in the world are connected to a communications network. “Without digitization, there is no basic infrastructure that allows for visibility, and there’s no data to operate Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning algorithms or any other kind of analytics.”

Unlike other solutions in the market, than can be very costly and complex, 3d Signals works with an unobtrusive platform based on external sensors which are easy to operate and to install. In fact, it takes less than an hour to complete a full connection of an industrial main machine. “Even basic information is sufficient to make a significant change. We monitor the machines from the outside by using sensors such as a current transformer or an acoustic sensor, to learn whether or not the machine is functioning.

“Within 48 hours of the installation, there is a unified monitoring dashboard for the entire factory. Today our technology is focused on the algorithms and presentation of information in such a way that both the CEO and the floor manager can understand. Our data shows that our customers had improved their output by 30% within 3 months of launching the platform.”

The screen shows 3d Signals' analytics in the production floor
The screen shows 3d Signals’ analytics in the production floor

Nvidia and Mellanox built a Supercomputer in just a Month

Photo above: Mellanox’ AI platform protects supercomputers from from hacking and inappropriate use

In a first joint announcement by Nvidia and Mellanox, the two companies announced a reference design for the rapid building of supercomputers, and a new cyber protection platform for supercomputers. Mellanox has expanded its offering of Unified Fabric Manager (UFM) products, adding to it a new appliance called UFM Cyber-AI Platform.

It provides cyber protection to supercomputers and big data centers, using an artificial intelligence software that studies the behavior characteristics of the computing systems, to identify malfunctions and detects abnormal activity that implies on hacking and unauthorized activity.

Originally, UFM technology was developed a decade ago by Mellanox in order to manage InfiniBand-based communications systems by providing network telemetry data, monitoring the activity of all the related devices, and managing the software updates across the network’s components.

The new solution comes both as a software package or as a complete appliance based on Nvidia’s dedicated server. It is focused on characterizing computer operation and identifying unusual activity. According to Nvidia and Mellanox, the system significantly reduces the data center’s downtime, whose damages are estimated to reach $300,000 per hour.

Supercomputers are open and unprotected platforms

According to Mellanox’s VP of Marketing, Gil Shainer, the integration of Mellanox’s InfiniBand with Nvidia’s GPU changes the rules of the game in the supercomputer market, bringing to it unprecedented cyber security and preventative maintenance capabilities. Shainer: “Supercomputers are managed differently from organizational computer centers. Usually it is an open platform that need to provide easy access to many researchers around the world.”

To illustrate the dilemma he recalled an event that took place several years ago at an American university. “The administrator of the computers center told me how they caught a student using a computer for crypto mining. The suspicion emerged when they found out that the computer’s power consumption was not declining during the annual vacation, a period of time in which the computer usually is not active. Our solution allows you to detect such a situation right away – and not have to wait for your computer’s power bill.”

Reference Design for the Rapid Construction of Supercomputer

Alongside the joint announcement, Nvidia unveiled a new supercomputer called Selene (photo above), which is considered the strongest industrial supercomputer in the United States, with peak performance of 27.5 petaflops. The computer is based on the new A100-model GPU processors announced this week, and was built for internal research conducted in Nvidia. During a press briefing last week, Shainer revealed that the new computer was built in just one month, a record-breaking time for the construction of a supercomputer.

Shainer: “The ability to build a supercomputer in a month is based on expertise in communication and expertise in processors. We have developed a reference design that allows anyone to build a supercomputer, based on ready made blocks of Nvidia’s processors and Mellanox’s communication. Because the processors are fully compatible with the communications cards, the computer can be set up in no time. In fact, we have jointly developed a reference design that allows for the construction of computers of any size – not just supercomputers.”

BMW-Mercedes Break up is bad news for Intel/Mobileye

Photo above: BMW impression of highway autonomous driving

Less than a year since the German Automotive giants BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz AG agreed to work together on a joint development program of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems and automated driving, they decided to halt the cooperation and to take different paths. Last week they announced that they are putting their cooperation in automated driving “temporarily on hold”.

The original agreement raised many expectations: On July 2019, the two parties announced an agreement for a long-term strategic cooperation, which will include joint development of driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and automated parking (SAE Level 4). They planned to bring together more than 1,200 specialists from both companies, often in mixed teams, to develop a scalable architecture for driver assistance systems, including sensors, as well as a joint data centre for data storage, administration and processing, and functions and software.

Intel/BMW vs Mercedes/NVIDIA

For Intel and Mobileye (owned by Intel) it was a great opportunity: They both have a long and deep cooperation with BMW Group in all aspects of Autonomous Driving, and the agreement could secure their dominant position in the German car industry. “We have systematically further developed our technology and scalable platform with partners like Intel, Mobileye, FCA and Ansys,” said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW. “Our current technology, with extremely powerful sensors and computing power, puts us in an excellent position.”

But those hopes were short lived: “Digitalization is a major strategic pillar for Mercedes-Benz. To prepare for the future challenges of a rapidly changing environment, we are currently also sounding out other possibilities with partners outside the automotive sector,” said Markus Schäfer, Board Member of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz.

And it turned out that one of these “partners” is NVIDIA – a bitter competitor of Intel and Mobileye. On Tuesday, June 23, they announced a cooperation to create a revolutionary in-vehicle computing system and AI computing infrastructure. Starting in 2024, this will be rolled out across the fleet of next-generation Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The new software-defined architecture will be built on the NVIDIA DRIVE platform and will be standard in Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation fleet. But there is a twist: NVIDIA and Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop the AI and automated vehicle applications for SAE level 2 and 3 – far below the ambitious goal of the original BMW/Mercedes coalition.

CENS adds CNTs to improve the capacity of Li-Ion batteries

Photo above: CNT on Li-Ion battery cathode and anode powder

CENS Materials, from Beer Sheva, Israel, has completed an investment round of $1.5 million led by the UK based investor Vincent Tchenguiz (Consensus Group). The company that was established at Incubit, an Elbit Systems’ incubator, is developing industrial process, that significantly increases the battery’s energy capacity by implementing carbon nanotubes (CNT) into batteries, without significantly increasing the cost.

CENS solution is a powder in/powder out process, therefore it does not affect the existing production line and does not require infrastructure modifications. It is based on the common Li-Ion technology with an addition of one industrial step in the process. This solution can even cause cobalt to be a redundant component in the battery, which might have a huge impact on cost and environment.

The company was founded in 2014 by the CEO and founder, Michael Bromfman with the backing of Elbit Systems. Prior to establishing CENS, Bromfman had served as the engineering manager of NanoMaterials from the Weizmnan Science Park, near Tel Aviv. Bromfman said the investment will serve to establish a semi-industrial plant capable of manufacturing premium batteries, “that will be supplied to top OEMs and Tier 1 in the Electric Vehicle industry.”

CENS technology increases the amount of charges stored in any electrical device by adding its CNT powder to the device’s electrodes (cathode/anode). The company estimates that it can increase the power capacity of devices such as Capacitors, Super Capacitors and Batteries by approximately 50%.

Microsoft Acquires CyberX to strengthen Azure’s IIoT

Photo above: CyberX’ CEO Omer Schneider (left) and the CTO Nir Giller

Microsoft announces it is acquiring CyberX from Herzliya, Israel, to help solve IoT security and IoT security monitoring challenges in Mocrosoft’s cloud service, Azure. CyberX will complement the existing Azure IoT security capabilities, and extends to existing devices including those used in industrial IoT, Operational Technology and infrastructure scenarios.

The announcement came four months after CyberX Announces Integration with Microsoft Azure Security Center for IoT. The combination of CyberX’s agentless security platform and Azure Security Center for IoT provides comprehensive IoT device protection and zero trust security for organizations seeking to reduce risk from enterprise IoT threats as well as from industrial IoT, Smart Buildings, Smart Retail, and more.

CyberX provides industrial cybersecurity platform for continuous, non-invasive risk assessment and M2M anomaly detection inside ICS and SCADA systems. The company was founded in 2013 by Omer Schneider and Nir Giller, both veterans of an elite IDF cybersecurity unit charged with securing Israel’s national critical infrastructure. CyberX has successfully deployed its continuous ICS threat monitoring and risk mitigation platform in Global 2000 enterprises across critical infrastructures, including energy & utilities, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, oil & gas, and manufacturing.

In a message to employees in the company’s blog, Omer Schneider and Nir Giller wrote that the move enables a unified IT/OT security. “We’ll be part of the business unit managed by Yuval Eldar, Microsoft GM of IoT Security, and in worldwide sales, we’ll be working with the Cybersecurity Solutions Group (CSG).” CyberX’ platform, XSense, acts as an invisible layer that covers the operational technology network, modeling it as a state machine.

Once plugged in, XSense commences the Collection stage: It performs Deep Packet Inspection and extracts the devices of the network, and the different patterns that are used and operational processes. Than it begins the analysis stage: XSense constructs the network’s State Machine during learning mode and once in operational mode, it knows whenever the Network is in each particular state.

Once a new state is introduced, a classification process takes place. Based on multiple signals that are fed into the XSense algorithm, during the Collection and Analysis stages, XSense determines whether the new state is malicious or operational. Than the a definition of a new state as malicious or operational generates an alert that is delivered in real-time to the network operator.