05 Nov 2018 | Blog
Only a century ago, urban congestion was a function of excessive manure and dead animals blocking the roads. Today the story is quite different. Due to ever-increasing vehicle ownership, the rise of office buildings, and rapid urban migration, cities now face unprecedented levels of traffic — causing delays, accidents, pollution and ultimately lowering quality of life.
Historically, cities dealt with the issue of traffic by installing traffic lights (aka signals), hiring traffic engineers, and creating traffic operations centers. While these systems resulted in higher throughput capacity, they lacked one key feature — adaptivity. Without real-time data, efficient data processing, and connected remote controls, traffic lights simply could not respond to real-time events, thus real-time traffic management was pure fiction.
Even today, with the emergence of semi-autonomous vehicles and connected cars, the vast majority of U.S. signalized intersections are equipped with very basic systems and rely on sensors under the road, known as Induction Loops, to sense traffic flow and toggle between preprogrammed timing schedules.
Only one third of traffic lights in the US provide real time traffic information to a city’s traffic management center but only 1% of traffic lights are adaptive in real-time. The result is that the overwhelming majority of traffic operators neither have the actionable data nor the means to make meaningful adjustments to traffic signals based on live information to optimise traffic flow in real-time. Which is why the traffic cop is still the “real time” weapon of choice for most cities.
Today, due to the confluence of affordable sensors, edge computing, and machine learning algorithms, we now anticipate a rise of traffic management systems capable of real-time optimization and intersection-specific adjustments.
With this backdrop, we are pleased to announce lool’s latest investment in NoTraffic. Addressing a problem that we all face daily, NoTraffic has developed a smart sensor system that takes only a few hours to install per intersection and gives traffic operators the ability to view and manage their traffic flow in real-time, at a fraction of the cost of induction loops. Moreover, NoTraffic provides critical infrastructure to enable real-time communication between connected vehicles and traffic lights to reduce accidents and improve fuel efficiency. In the long-term, NoTraffic’s AI will remove the need for human interaction, seamlessly optimizing the cities’ traffic flow according to the priorities set by its’ management.
NoTraffic’s three co-founders come each from different backgrounds with high relevance and value to NoTraffic’s mission: CEO Tal Kreisler brings a diverse background in law, accounting, finance, regulation, corporate consulting, and is a second time founder; CTO Uriel Katz comes with 15 years of technology development and was a Group Manager at Trusteer (acquired by IBM for $810m); and VP R&D Or Sela comes from an analytical and tech background, serving in a unique position in 8200 unit and recognised by his commanders and peers as top of his class, and brings deep algorithmic and computer vision hands-on experience from Intel and CEVA.
We are fortunate to partner with not only amazing founders and operators, but a unique, world class set of advisors including Prof. Nathan Gartner — Inventor of the world’s first algorithm for real time optimization of signalized intersections (MIT, Technion), David Pickeral — Smart Transportation Leader @ IBM and Prof. Avishai Ceder , renowned transportation expert, former Chief Scientist at the Israel Ministry of Transportation (MIT, Technion).
Before meeting lool, the company had raised a pre-seed to develop and deploy a successful PoC. In parallel, NoTraffic participated in the 1776 accelerator in Washington D.C, and secured 3 paid pilots in the US to deploy its system after raising its seed round. After speaking to the decision makers that approved each of the company’s paid pilots — we came to realize the diverse and holistic offering of the company, allowing each policy maker to enforce its preferences and craft the traffic flow accordingly: prioritize public transportation over private; clear way to emergency services; limit waiting time for pedestrians on specific hours and locations; or just create drive-through corridors for shipping trucks in the middle of the night. We also learned that each decision maker had conducted exhaustive research on the competition and concluded that NoTraffic’s value proposition was so significantly differentiated, they were willing to take a risk on an unproven start-up over more established brand names and incumbents. Seeing that government agencies were willing to take this leap of faith at this stage of the company’s life gave us additional confidence to take our own.
Capped only by the number of signalized intersections (existing and planned) in western countries, and attending to a growing global pain that is inflicting severe economic and social damage to private and public sectors — NoTraffic presents a rare opportunity to invest in a practically uncapped liquidation potential company. The company’s holistic solution that delivers incredible value from day 1 is future proof, equipped with radar, radio, camera, and cellular connectivity to enable data capture, processing, actuation, and communication, paving the road to a fully connected transportation system. We look forward to the journey that awaits — and to shortening the journey that awaits you!