Shmeltzer Family Paves Road to the Future

TAU’s new Shlomo Shmeltzer Institute for Smart Transportation will apply digital technologies and data science to improving daily life
07 November 2017
From left: Tovi Shmeltzer, Ofra Raif, Atalia Shmeltzer, Prof. Joseph Klafter and Asi Shmeltzer. Credit: Israel Sun

When the late Shlomo Shmeltzer began his career in the transportation field in 1974 with a small car rental company, self-driving cars and electric vehicles were still considered science-fiction. But Shmeltzer was always far-sighted and he developed his business into one of Israel’s largest automotive and services group. It was thus only natural for the Shmeltzer Family Foundation to establish a Smart Transportation Institute at Tel Aviv University to commemorate his name.


The Institute, an interdisciplinary hub that will bring together dozens of TAU scientists, will address critical transportation challenges facing society today.


Researchers in the Institute, headed by Dr. Tal Raviv from the Department of Industrial Engineering, will include performance analysis experts and applied mathematicians who will enhance cooperative and shared transportation systems. Data science experts will develop methods for analyzing the vast quantities of real-time data available from vehicles, sensors and mobile phones in order to optimize traffic and transportation systems, while at the same time attempting to prevent malicious use of this sensitive information. Behavioral scientists will address the human factor in developing efficient and easy-to-use applications for smart transportation.


To stimulate trailblazing and practical research, the Institute will hold an annual professional conference that will bring together the best experts, developers and innovators in the smart transportation field. It will serve as a meeting place between the academic community, industry, government and NGOs. Additionally, it will provide master's and doctoral fellowships to TAU students in this field.


A strategic partnership to advance the transportation arena

The Shmeltzer family is deeply committed to advancing Israeli industry and specifically the transportation sector. Asi Shmeltzer, Shlomo's son and Chairperson of the Shlomo Group, said at the signing ceremony: "Our goal is to preserve the legacy and vision of Shlomo Shmeltzer in the automotive field, which he so loved. We are confident that Tel Aviv University and the new Institute will succeed in bringing about critical breakthroughs for the Israeli and global transportation arena.”


Attending the signing were TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter and Shmeltzer family members.


TAU aims for the institute to promote cooperation and knowledge transfer between researchers in the field and leading organizations in the Israeli and global economy. "The unique collaboration with the Shlomo Group will enable leading researchers to address practical problems using real data. We hope to expand this promising model of cooperation also with other industry and government entities," said Prof. Irad Ben-Gal, Head of the Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence and Business Analytics and member of the Institute management team.



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