The Times of Israel is pleased to host the fifth episode of a series of seven special edition talks on Israeli startups, as part of Firewall, a podcast about tech, culture and politics hosted by Bradley Tusk.
In this episode, Tusk, the CEO of Tusk Ventures, and Michael Eisenberg of Israel’s Aleph VC talk to Erez Dagan, the executive vice president for Products and Strategy at Mobileye, a maker of technologies for self-driving cars that was snapped up by Intel Corp. in 2017 for a whopping $15.3 billion. Dagan, 42, has been with the firm for 16 years. After his army service, as part of his degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dagan took a course in machine learning given by Prof. Amnon Shashua, the founder of Mobileye. He fell in love with the subject and the rest is history.
Together, they discuss how the firm’s first robotaxis — driverless autonomous vehicles hailed via an app — will likely hit the roads commercially in 2022. They also talk about the technological and political implications of autonomous vehicles, the social contracts that govern different driving cultures globally, and the business side of the self-driving industry.
Dagan also discusses how the streets of Jerusalem are the best place to stress test the self-driving vehicles, which must be able to respond quickly and safely to situations that arise on the road yet not become a nuisance due to an excess of caution. As the company grows, Mobileye has been recruiting skilled workers coming out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the ultra-Orthodox sector and the US. It is a “sense of purpose” and new challenges that keep employees loyal to the firm, he says.
In his Firewall podcasts, Tusk talks tech, startups, politics and regulation with a different guest each week. The Times of Israel is hosting the podcast’s special edition on Israel, which explores the world of Israeli startups in seven episodes.