El Al May Delay November Launch of Tel Aviv-San Francisco Service

TechNation | Airobotics providing drones to oversee construction of new Haifa port ■ BP invests in Israeli fast-charge battery firm ■ Israeli startup that monitors babies’ sleep raises $14 million in second round funding

File photo: An El Al Boeing 787 Dreamliner
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El Al may delay November launch of Tel Aviv-San Francisco service

El Al Israel Airlines said it is considering delaying the start of service on its non-stop Tel Aviv-San Francisco route, which had been due to begin in November. The route is seen as particularly attractive for high-tech sector customers traveling between Israel and Silicon Valley. The carrier, which said it would provide additional information shortly, has already begun selling tickets on the route, which is to compete with existing service offered by United Airlines. The U.S. carrier has been flying the route since 2016, and shortly after beginning the run, it boosted its service from three times a week to daily. It is not clear how many tickets El Al has sold but the Israeli flagship carrier said it would make alternative arrangements for anyone affected by the change in its plans. The airline had been planning three flights a week between Tel Aviv and San Francisco using one of its new Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. It said the possible change in the start date was part of its planning for its winter schedule, its introduction of new Dreamliner aircraft and the withdrawal from service of Boeing 767 planes. (Gabriela Davidovich-Weisberg)

Airobotics providing drones to oversee construction of new Haifa port

The Israeli drone startup Airobotics has been providing autonomous drone aircraft over the past year to oversee the construction of the new port in Haifa. The drones do not require human operators and are able to independently land at their home base for battery changes that are carried out by a robotic arm. The Petah Tikva-based company’s drones are in service in a number of countries to monitor construction and industrial sites, to provide security surveillance and for other purposes. Airobotics noted that it works with major Israeli construction and engineering companies including Shapir Engineering and the Ashtrom Group. In April of last year, the company received a license from the Israeli Civil Aviation Authority, the first of its kind in the world, to operate the autonomous drones. (Amitai Ziv) 

BP invests in Israeli fast-charge battery firm

The British global oil firm BP said on Tuesday that its venture capital fund invested $20 million in Israeli firm StoreDot, which has developed a battery system that could potentially charge an electric car in the amount of time it takes to fill a gas tank. The investment, BP Ventures said, is part of a push to tap into the growth in electric vehicle technologies and infrastructure. StoreDot, which raised $60 million from Daimler in September, developed a super-fast charger for cellphones before expanding into automotives. The company says its lithium ion-based battery technology can fully charge an electric vehicle in five minutes. StoreDot is aiming to bring its mobile phone batteries to market as early as 2019. (Reuters) 

Israeli startup that monitors babies’ sleep raises $14 million in second round funding 

Nanit, an Israeli startup that has developed a system that monitors babies’ sleep, announced on Monday that it has completed a $14 million second funding round led by Jerusalem Venture Partners which brings its total funding to $28 million. Nanit did not disclose the company valuation on which the latest funding round is based or its current revenues. Nanit’s technology includes a camera installed over the baby’s crib that monitors movements during the night. The system produces a detailed report on the child’s sleep patterns. Parents are also given the option of conferring with experts at universities in Israel and the United States about the results. The primary market for the company, which has offices in Israel and in New York, is the United States, but the firm plans to use the new financing to expand its market reach and also intends to hire about 15 engineers. Seventeen of its current staff of 30 are in Israel.  (Refaella Goichman)