Odysight.AI, the Israeli Company That Prevents Aircraft Accidents

Odysight.AI, which prevents helicopter and aircraft accidents by installing parts integrity monitoring cameras, has won a new Ministry of Defense contract, which will include Seahawk helicopters that will land on Navy missile boats. “We could have identified the Boeing jet door that opened during flight before it happened.”

Published by Udi Etsion, 19.03.2024, WALLA! NEWS

Seven years ago, an Air Force Apache crashed just before landing at the Ramon Air Force Base. The pilot, Major David Zohar was killed and another pilot was seriously injured. The accident investigation found that the rod, which carried steering commands from the pilots’ joysticks to the tail rotor suddenly failed and the attack helicopter lost its steering capability in a second.

This accident focused the Air Force on quickly adopting predictive maintenance. That is, identifying malfunctions before they occur to prevent serious damage and crashes. Today, the first Air Force Apache is flying with the Israel’s Odysight.AI solution, which does precisely that: the company installs cameras in an aircraft’s critical fail points to record sensitive parts that are not readily accessible even to mechanics and use artificial intelligence to analyze the image for a crack that is starting to propagate or a part that is loosening.

In the Apache, the part that failed is checked only once every five years, during the Level D check at the Air Force Maintenance Unit in Tel Nof. Today, the camera prototype constantly monitors this part, an increasingly important matter given that some of the Air Force Apache fleet is 30 years old.

“The Air Force is not the only one now operating old planes and helicopters, because of the high prices of new platforms. The entire military aviation world is dealing with the challenge of keeping them safely flying,” explains Ofer, whose C-130 Hercules is already 50 years old, and which the Air Force plans to keep operating for at least another ten years.

The Air Force, which is known to focus on learning from mistakes, has learned lessons. Odysight.AI has won a Ministry of Defense contract to install its system in the new Seahawk helicopters, second-hand US Navy aircraft, which have been taken out of service, renovated and that the Air Force will operate for the Navy missile boats.

“There are now systems that are supposed to identify malfunctions before they happen by analyzing vibrations. Our system is based on a camera and is more accurate,” says Odysight.AI CEO Col. (res.) Yehu Ofer, a former Hercules squadron commander, Sde Dov base commander, and IDF military attaché to Italy. “For example, the Seahawk will have 20 cameras at critical points, which will enable the early identification of cracks, that could cause the tail of the aircraft to disintegrate.”

Odysight.AI’s system has another advantage: the information that it collects can dramatically shorten the preflight checks by 40% from what is currently needed, saving mechanics’ work and shorting turnaround time between sorties, a critical matter in wartime.

Odysight.AI was founded in 2015 and operates out of the Omer Industrial Park in the south. It is based, among other things, on the research of Prof. Jacob Bortman, a former director of the Air Force’s equipment group and currently a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The company’s main investors are Mori Arkin and his sons’ Arkin Holdings, with a 52% controlling stake, and institutional investors such as Phoenix Holdings and Meitav Dash Investments. The company has raised $44 million today and is traded on the Over-the-Counter market in New York at a market cap of $63 million, after almost doubling in value in the past two months.

The company is already targeting the civil aviation industry as its next sector. Ofer says, “The malfunction of the door that fell off the Boeing jet in flight because of a maintenance problem could have been identified and avoided. There were four bolts, which were apparently not properly tightened, and a camera would have identified the problem ahead of time. Civil aviation takes decisions more slowly than the military, but we intend to become its strong maintenance standard.”

At the same time, the company is jointly developing with Elbit Systems a malfunctions identification system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Air Force lost several UAVs during the Swords of Iron War, and most were not downed by enemy fire. For UAVs, with no pilots to identify a malfunction before it develops, Odysight.AI’s technology is just as important.


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