Teaching the Autonomous Driver to Economize

Self driving car

Article from Yediot  website

Mammon ● 19.03.2018

Galooli, which was founded a decade ago by Israeli Air Force veterans in order to teach cellular companies how to save energy in antenna sites, and has been operating under the radar until now, is entering the automotive market The aim: to save money for operators of autonomous and manned fleets by using artificial intelligence  

 By Udi Etzion

Quite a few Israeli companies are at the forefront of the transition of the automotive industry to the autonomous era. Mobileye is the best known of them, and alongside it are other companies such as Argus, Innoviz, Anagog, Valens, and more.

Today, we are showcasing another company that has entered this field and has been operating under the radar since 2009. “Galooli”, established by Israel Air Force veterans Ronen Barel and Itamar Molchadsky, specializes in remote control and efficient energy management of stationary sites such as cellular antenna facilities. Its main activity is in Latin America and Africa, but also in Europe. The company is already operating in 30 countries and in 2017 prided itself on saving its customers $330 million USD in operating expenses

Former Chief of Staff Dan Haloutz and former chairman of Elron and Given Imaging Doron Birger serve as joint chairmen: “Over the past two years the number of our employees has doubled from 80 to 160 people,” says Barel. “As a private company we do not publish financial data, but I can say that we have been profitable since 2009, and last year we made tens of millions of dollars. We’re no longer a start-up.”

Dan Haloutz and Ronen Barel

A significant part of the growth is attributed to the fact that the veteran “Galooli Power” division has been joined by “Galooli OTO”, which already manages fleets of more than 100,000 vehicles abroad, mainly in rental companies and company car fleets, including tracking and monitoring of commercial vehicles, buses and a wide range of vehicles of various types.

“We take advantage of our expertise in remote information collection and management, in the development of algorithms that identify problems before they occur, in order to transfer the knowledge we have acquired from the stationary area to the mobile area,” says Barel. “The accurate management of the vehicle fleet will be the basis for efficiency and profitability in the autonomous era when vehicles will operate 24/7 and every hour in which the vehicle won’t be used will result in financial loss. But this area is already significant today when there is still a driver in the vehicle, as it still produces a lot of digital information which can be analyzed and used. For our customers, who until now have used 20 to 30 percent of the information, we raise the figure to 60 to 70 percent.”

This is not a new field, and there are already Israeli companies such as Traffilog and Green Road operating in this field. As early as the 1970s, fleet management started to be based on RF technology, and in the 1990s systems based on cellular networks were introduced, which were able to collect more and more information from the vehicle. From 2000, systems which have entered the market not only transmit information but also analyze it and can even display it as a virtual dashboard, to show managers and fleet operators what a driver is doing in real-time, where he is at, how fast he’s driving and how much fuel he’s using.

Galooli is active in the fourth generation of these fleet management systems, which are based on artificial intelligence. “We know how to adapt the systems to the vehicle fleet, to produce a profile for each driver, and mainly to conduct monetizing – monetary evaluation of the driving, the use and the maintenance of the vehicle, providing a forecast of faults and assisting in proper preemptive management, and training drivers to drive economically. As part of the collection of information from customers, Galooli also reviews the salary terms in the field and can tell the customer whether he is paying his professional drivers more or less than the market prices.

Galooli is already managing a pilot project together with a large European vehicle manufacturer for the integration of its system already on the production line and is holding talks with other manufacturers. Already this year we will see cars coming to Israel with the system installed in them for the Israeli market. It is also conducting talks with the UK Subaru and Isuzu importer to install it in the cars it sells. “Dani Haloutz is leading our activity vis-a-vis the British. He not only deals with strategy but is helping to bring deals,” explains Barel.

From the point of view of the vehicle manufacturers, such a system will help them to maintain contact with the car after the sale, to keep in touch with the car’s owners, to encourage them to come for service to the importer’s or dealer’s workshop, and to know at a push of a button what are the wear and the faults of millions of cars, to identify serial problems and to prepare properly in terms of spare parts. “An importer will be able to identify ‘good’ customers who do not need to replace brake discs soon, and offer them cheap and even free servicing in order to maintain contact.”

Regular analysis of the car’s condition can also provide valuable information when the customer seeks to replace it. Information that is worth money to a prospective buyer and also to an importer or dealer who wants to bring “good” cars to their lots.

"To translate human behavior into money"

“I always have a warm place in my heart for the people of the Air Force, but I joined Galooli after I was exposed to their activity,” says Dan Haloutz, who previously served as the Chairman of Kamor, the former Israeli BMW importer. “I choose the companies I work with according to the people, not according to the tycoonism, and I found here a team which talks at eye level. But mostly I was fascinated by the idea that it operates in the automotive field, the idea of translating human behavior into financial savings, turning all the huge amounts of data that the vehicle accumulates into useful information.”

What is your ongoing contribution to the company?

“Together with other friends and the management of the company, I try to help in thinking ahead. There are people here, some of whom I knew in the past as their commanding officer, and they have grown very nicely, took an idea and turned it into a product that sells, and did all this without funding and loans. This is a company based on creative thinking, and I contribute wherever I can in opening doors, for example in Europe where there is stiff competition in this field.”

How much will the autonomous revolution affect Galooli? 

“Any slight aberration in the operating efficiency of large fleets has a great economic significance regarding the ability to make a profit and be competitive in the price of the service it provides. This is true, by the way, not only for autonomous land fleets but also to air and naval fleets that are also facing an autonomous revolution.”