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In Israel, Arkansas governor talks self-driving delivery trucks and missile defense

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson outlined a direct line between the startup nation and America’s major retailer, Walmart, on Tuesday, in a speech at the international event Smart Mobility Summit In Tel Aviv and touring its innovation exhibition.

The day before, in Bentonville, Arc, home of the retail giant’s corporate headquarters, Walmart and Silicon Valley. Announced The successful pilot of autonomous self-driving trucks – with no person on board – to deliver deliveries from warehouses to its retail stores.

“Something I focus on is smart mobility, from autonomous vehicles to drone shipments, which Walmart also deals with, and Israel has start-ups in all of these areas,” the governor said. A Jewish interior man In an interview at the Expo on Tuesday. “One of the things I take back with me is how Israel has become a leader in innovation and investing in new technologies that benefit the whole world. We must invest more.”

Hutchinson, who arrived in Israel on Sunday and met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, President Yitzhak Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Transport Minister Merav Michaeli during his stay, told JI that his focus was on strengthening partnerships and learning from Israel’s thriving technology. And the innovation sector.

In his conference speech, Hutchinson spoke of the Walmart-Gatik pilot, declaring it “the world’s first driverless delivery service.” He described how he cut the bureaucracy and changed the legislation in his country to allow driverless vehicles to become a reality, address supply shortages and reshape the future.

The governor then toured the summit showroom, watching the latest news on autonomous vehicles, cyber security software for cars, sharp-sighted safety cameras and drones. He listened to the plots and collected business cards.

About 5,000 people from about 60 countries participated in the two-day event, which included performances by Bennett, Michaeli, Minister of Energy Karin Elharar and Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Orit Farkash HaCohen, as well as representatives of the traditional car industry and the world of smart mobility.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson hears about UAVs for delivery at the International Summit on Smart Mobility in Tel Aviv, November 9, 2021.

As governor of a deep red state with a respectable evangelical Christian population, Hutchinson is well-versed in Israel’s security issue. The country Plays a key role In the construction of Israel’s famous “Iron Dome” system against missiles.

Hutchinson, himself an evangelist who has visited Israel three times in the past, said he believes supporting Israel is “an essential part of American culture, history and the connections we have between Judaism and Christianity.”

“In practice, Israel is our strongest ally in this region, a very dangerous part of the world and it is a friendship that helps maintain America’s security,” Hutchinson said, referring to his country’s law banning investment in boycott companies in Israel, including Unilever, a company The mother of ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, and her involvement in the production of Iron Dome.

“We are in the supply chain,” he said of his country’s alliance with Missile and Defense Raytheon, which last year partnered with Rafael Israel’s advanced defense systems to build Iron Dome batteries in East Camden, Arun.

“The prime minister told me, ‘Make sure you tell the people in Arkansas how much we appreciate their support for our defense,'” Hutchinson said of his meeting with Bennett.

He said some Israeli leaders had also expressed concerns about the Biden administration’s plans to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, which had traditionally worked with the Palestinians but was closed by former President Donald Trump in 2019.

“Of course it met with opposition,” added Hutchinson, a Republican who served in Congress from 1997-2003. “I, of course, appreciated President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. This is the right pattern for the United States.”

Hutchinson, who is limited to a term of office and will leave the governor’s mansion in 2023, told JI he certainly plans to “be involved in the national debate, on the direction of my party as well as our country’s” after the end of his second term.

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