It has certainly been an interesting 2017 in the Israeli Hi-Tech world, here is a rundown of 5 highlights, in case you missed them. Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories   Free Sign up!

This year’s acquisition by Intel of Israeli autonomous vehicle technology company Mobileye for $15.3 billion was not only the largest tech deal in Israel’s history, but it also propelled Israel into the limelight in the autonomous cars space. Israel, home to a plethora of startups active in the field (from GPS accuracy and sensors to cyber security), is now competing with the big boys in Detroit and Germany as the leader in the industry.

Doing its bit to help, the Ministry of Transport opened the new Road 531 exclusively for companies conducting trials for self-driving cars. Although there has been criticism that these pilots should be tested on public roads, this decision shows the government’s interest in supporting the Israeli hi-tech sector in the development of autonomous cars.

In a similar vein, in March, the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) made history and headlines when it made the unprecedented move of granting an Israeli startup the first right to fly fully automated unmanned commercial drones in Israel’s airspace. Airbotics become the first company in the world to receive such kind of approval – putting Israel front and center of the global drone industry.

Although it was born in 2009 (when 1 Bitcoin was worth 5 cents), 2017 was the year that the first cryptocurrency – Bitcoin – exploded into the main stream market, rocketing in value to almost $20,000 per coin and then falling. The jury is still out as to whether cryptocurrencies are a bubble, a money-laundering tool or have intrinsic value, and in Israel it has yet to be decided whether they constitute an asset or a currency, with both the Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) and Israel Securities Authority (ISA) considering their position. Read more from blogs.timesofisrael.com…

thumbnail courtesy of timesofisrael.com