Imagry, Inc., an Israeli self-driving technology startup, has just driven its way onto U.S. soil, setting up its American headquarters right here in Arizona. The Israeli tech company found a new home in Tempe with plans to begin local pilot testing of its autonomous cars this fall.
This move represents two major trends here in Arizona: the development and testing of self-driving technology, and the strengthening of business ties between Arizona and Israel. In fact, the state has seen a major surge of activity and interest from Israeli companies who have successfully globe-hopped to set up shop in our backyard.
Arizona has some of the most development-friendly regulations when it comes to self-driving tech companies. Add that to our mild weather and relatively low cost of living compared to places like Silicon Valley, and Arizona stands out as the perfect place to set down some roots.
From health care tech to drone manufacturing, from electric autonomous plane development to a fintech alliance, Arizona is attracting Israeli startups and businesspeople to find a new home here. Simultaneously, self-driving technology has continued to grow with autonomous semi-trucks down in Tucson to shuttles in Phoenix to autonomous tractor software in Scottsdale.
“This is further confirmation that Arizona is the best place for Israeli businesses — and those from other countries — to bring new technologies and new business models to market,” says Connie Weber, a spokesperson for the Arizona Commerce Authority. “In addition to its thriving innovation ecosystem, Arizona’s top talent and business-friendly streamlined regulatory environment make it the ideal location to advance technology.”
Last year, Imagry Inc. tested the waters in Scottsdale with a satellite office to see if Arizona would be its new home. Everything came together for the company and in December of 2018 it moved into a permanent home near Arizona State University’s campus in downtown Tempe. This October, Imagry will hit the road with its self-driving robotaxi pilot program, much like Waymo’s autonomous taxi-van service that is ready for its official debut on Phoenix streets.
Imagry only has a few employees here in Arizona but plans to hire seven or eight more by the end of the year for engineering, operations and product management to ramp up testing and production. It uses real-time mapping software that’s vision-based to identify not only the road but objects and obstacles that cars may come across.
Outside the self-driving technology world, Israeli companies are finding Arizona to be the perfect home for new or expanded operations.
In May of last year, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce U.S.-Israel Business Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding. The partnership represents a common focus on supporting economic and commercial ties between our state and the entire nation of Israel. Since the partnership was announced, more Israel-based companies have moved from their home desert in the Middle East to our own desert here in Arizona.
Relations between Israel and Arizona are only strengthening as potential businesses and economic plans continue to grow. More companies moving across the globe to set up business here in Arizona will continue to lay down a foundation for growth and act as a template for other industries to take advantage of the market opportunities in the state.
“Arizona and Israel are global leaders that share a strong, collaborative relationship and continue to work together to advance forward-thinking water policy and freshwater science innovation,” Weber said. “These partners will collaborate on state-of-the-art research and testing in Arizona and will be focused on advancing automated vehicle science, safety and policy.”