Stuck on the Downtown Connector during rush hour? You may have reached for Smart City technology to scoot around the traffic jam.

Mayors and city planners are clamoring for Smart City technology like traffic navigator app Waze, an Israeli product.

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research and Greenville, S.C., business leaders identified Israel as a source of innovation in Smart City development. CU-iCAR works with Israeli startups focused on disruptive technologies related to one Smart City pillar, mobility.

CU-iCAR excels in automotive research, innovation and global educational enterprise while serving more than 200 students pursuing graduate degrees in automotive engineering.

Conexx will recognize CU-iCAR as its Academic Innovative Partner of the Year at the Conexx Gala on March 22 for its collaboration with Israeli companies. Accepting the award will be Jennifer Bianchi, CU-iCAR’s senior economic development officer.

Bianchi said CU-iCAR’s partners include Conexx, Securing America’s Future Energy, the Global Alliance for South Carolina and the Carolinas Alliance 4 Innovation.

Conexx traveled with CU-iCAR faculty to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva in June 2016. Didier Jean-Laurent Rousseliere, Clemson’s director of global partnerships and initiatives, was part of that group, which met with tech transfer offices, universities, incubators and accelerators, and venture capitalists.

“The purpose was to understand the Israeli innovation ecosystem with hopes of identifying possibilities for collaboration under the South Carolina-Israeli Trade Agreement, which focuses on six sectors, mobility being one of them,” Bianchi said. “Clemson’s goal was to discover ways in which we could collaborate with Israel to grow the university’s research and education programs.”

Conexx President Guy Tessler said the 2016 trip encouraged collaboration between Israeli engineers and the United States’ only graduate department of automotive engineering.

With 26 percent of its graduates working in the Southeast, CU-iCAR is vital to the Southeast’s quest for excellence and developing the Smart City of the future.

Smart City pillars are mobility, public safety, environment, city operations efficiency, and public and business engagement.

For a close look at Atlanta’s Smart City plan, take a walk on the BeltLine.

“There’s a mobility revolution happening,” Bianchi said. “As business models related to transportation and mobility in general change, it’s important to look for sources of innovation. Israel’s work in this area is impressive. Greenville’s local leaders will continue to look for ways to work with Israeli startups to promote their Smart Cities plan. And as part of Clemson University’s larger global engagement strategy, CU-iCAR looks forward to continuing to support collaboration opportunities with Israel to grow our research and education programs.”