Above: Winter driving in difficult visibility conditions – in Cognata’s synthetic simulator
Cognata was chosen to provide a simulator of LiDAR sensors signals to Seoul Robotics, which develops software for analyzing data coming from the sensors, in order to extract information about the vehicle’s environment. The collaboration deepens Cognata’s grip on the ADAS systems market. Founded in 2016 by the CEO Danny Atsmon, the Rehovot-based (near Tel aviv) Cognata has developed a virtual platform used to train and test autonomous vehicles even before the vehicle hits the road for field tests.
The system is based on several layers: a static environment, a dynamic environment, sensors and cloud interface. The static environment is built from realistic imaging of entire cities, including streets, trees, road defects, etc. The dynamic layer mimics the behavior of other drivers on the road and the sensor layer mimics the information coming from each of the 40 different sensors found today in autonomous vehicles.
The chosen imaging software of Innoviz
Cognata is well acquainted with the field of LiDAR. In December 2019, it was selected by Innoviz to test Innoviz’s LiDAR technology. Cognata’s software can simulates how Innoviz’s LiDAR signals are reflected from different surfaces and materials, and how the sensors will function under different road conditions. A few days later it was also chosen by the Rehovot-based Foresight to test its QuadSight system, based on the use of two infrared cameras and two visible-light cameras, to produce a stereoscopic (three-dimensional) machine vision capability.
The agreement with Seoul Robotics is Cognata’s second major deal in Korea. In August 2020, it was selected by Hyundai MOBIS to supply a simulator for the development of ADAS systems and autonomous vehicles. Hyundai MOBIS is a Tier 1 supplier of the Korean automotive industry and manufactures auto parts for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis Motors.
Above: A Dutch soldier during the drills. Source: Dutch Ministry of Defence
The US Army and the Royal Netherlands Army recently conducted live trainings examining the Smash 2000 Fire Control System of Smart Shooter from Kibbutz Yagur (near Haifa). The system is mounted on small arms, and zeroes in on the target using AI-based image processing to assist the soldier to shoot more accurately. The US Army tested the system by firing on ground targets, while the Dutch army tested its drone-interception capabilities using small arms. Both armies characterized the exercises as successful.
The Dutch exercise was carried out at a military facility in the town of Harde (Netherlands), with the participation of combat soldiers from the air force, navy, and the special forces. As part of the exercise, they were equipped with Colt rifles which were outfitted with Smart Shooter’s Fire Control System, in order to test whether it allows infantry soldiers to eliminate low flying drones using their personal weapons.
The soldiers fired at drones of various types and sizes from a distance of up to 165 yards. The company stated that all targets were eliminated. The Dutch Ministry of Defence has also issued an official announcement about the experiment, seemingly hinting at the strategic importance it assigns to the system. Smart Shooter estimated that the success of the two trials constitutes a significant milestone in introducing the solution to the world’s leading armies.
Small arms take down a drone
Dr. Abraham Mazor, VP of Marketing and Development at Smart Shooter, told Techtime that the exercise is the result of four years of working together with the Dutch army. “The Dutch army has examined the functioning of the system in its operational scenarios and in accordance with the threats it faces. The exercise was defined as a success according to the criteria they set. I believe it will lead to the acquisition of the system”. According to Mazor, “The simplicity of the system stood out no less than its accuracy. The soldiers arrived without prior experience, and after a short instruction of several minutes were able to take down drones.”
Drone interception using small arms is one of the key scenarios which interest armies around the world. Recently, the US Department of Defense (DoD) incorporated the system in the Counter Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-sUAS) program. Mazor: “Our system provides a response to this new kind of threat. There are many systems that know how to take care of drones. However, there is no system that allows a soldier to independently intercept a drone without supporting systems such as a remote radar.”
“The existing systems are based on disrupting drones by electronic means. In the future, drones will be autonomous, without a communication unit or GPS, and in a formation of a drone fleet, and therefore electronic warfare will be less effective. Militaries understand that, and some are considering the possibility that in every combat platoon there will be a trained soldier who can intercept drones.”
The rifle ceases to be a “Statistical Weapon”
Smart Shooter was founded by two former members of Rafael’s missile division, CEO Michal Mor and CTO Avshalom Erlich. It has developed the Smash Fire Control System to be mounted on top of every assault rifle using a rail. The system zeroes in on the target using electro-optical sensors and monitors it using AI-based image processing algorithm.
An automatic tracking allows the soldier to aim effortlessly, and when the weapon is positioned at the right angle – the trigger is released automatically. Mazor: “Smart Fire Control Systems will become an integral element in all modern combat perceptions. The rifle cannot continue to remain a statistical weapon. We upgrade the level of infantrymen to the world of missiles: at the technological level, in the perception, and in production and assembly.”
Jumping targets within 440 yards
The exercise conducted by the United States Army took place during September 14-24 at the APG training facility in Aberdeen, Maryland. During the exercise, the soldiers were equipped with assault rifles which were outfitted with Smart Shooter’s Fire Control System and fired thousands of magazines at stationary, moving, and jumping targets at ranges of 25-440 yards. At the end of the exercise, the accuracy rates were compared to those typical of using standard sights.
The exercise was funded and supervised by the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. Smart Shooter is currently active in about 15 countries, mostly through subsidiaries or local representatives (in the US and Germany), as well as through collaborations with security contractors such as Thales in Australia, TBM in the Netherlands, and Opto S&D of the Akaer Group in Brazil. “We are in the midst of a very extensive marketing activity, which includes demonstrations and procurements.”
The Tel Aviv based UVeye, which develops digital scanning systems for the automotive industry, has begun to set up its operations across the United States. The company announced plans to open sales and business development offices in Ohio and New York in the next four months. Now it is exploring several of possible locations, including Michigan and Texas, for the establishment of a production facility in 2021.
UVeye has its sights set on the automotive aftermarket industry, including auto dealerships, licensed garages, vehicle inspection stations and used car lots. UVeye’s marketing director Yaron Saghiv told Techtime: “This is a large market, and we believe it could generate orders for tens of thousands of systems. This is why we also want to manufacture in the United States.”
UVeye has developed three mobile digital systems that perform scans from multiple angles while driving and automatically diagnose various aspects of the vehicle’s status using computer vision technology. The Artemis system scans the vehicle’s tires from the side and detects abrasion, low tire pressure, tread wear sidewall flaws; the Atlas system performs an overall, 360-degree scan of the vehicle and detects sheet-metal defects and mechanical malfunctions such as oil leaks and brake problems; and the Helios system scans the car’s undercarriage and detects suspicious objects.
The company was founded in 2016 by the CEO Amir Hever and by Ohad Hever. It has already secured strategic collaborations with several international automakers, including Volvo and Toyota, which have also invested in the company. Volvo even installed one of the company’s systems in its manufacturing plant near Gothenburg, for the purpose of identifying manufacturing defects. The Israeli public transport company Kavim also installed a number of UVeye systems in their car parks.