From Homeland Security to Auto with Amir Hever

November 28, 2022
The winner of the 2022 Automotive News All Star for Fixed Ops Vendor.
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Amir Hever and UVeye have been growing leaps and bounds. The company was originally founded as a homeland security solution for scanning cars for potential threats. But they realized there were a lot more applications than that. Amir joins the guys to talk about where UVeye is growing, helping ease a technician shortage, and what an Automotive News award actually looks like.

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Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly, Michael Cirillo, Amir Hever

Michael Cirillo  00:01

Every day you get to sit down


this is auto collabs.

Paul Daly  00:17

All right, I think this is the first time three of us have been speechless after we hit the record button. What you don't realize is usually when we record the intro to this, these podcasts, we hit the record button and somebody says something, and we never pre communicate who it's going to be. Just whenever it happens, somebody says, and this is the first time in how many episodes How many have we done

Kyle Mountsier  00:39

50 some odd things were of the record, but we all stood there and we're like. And then Cirillo, this is what this is what I'm gonna call it, I'm gonna call it like I see it, Cirillo realizes this. And he says these words, you know what, what he really means he has no clue what he's about to say. He's hoping that by the end of the first three words, you had something to stay, we got to stop making strides

Michael Cirillo  01:06

to say, you know, it's not every day you get to interview somebody who worked in Homeland Security,

Paul Daly  01:12

if that's true. That's an interesting intro. And it's fair. And it's true, because today's guests Amir, the CEO, and co founder of UVeye, started in Homeland Security, how appropriate, how do you make your way to

Kyle Mountsier  01:26

Audible? The company did at least in homeland. That's true. That's true. Yeah, really an interesting move. You know, when when UVeye landed on the scene a couple years ago, basically, the only people doing anything close to what they were doing is Hunter machines. And you literally had to know when you were building the building, that you were getting onto Misha built the building, in the ground, ready to

Paul Daly  01:51

get cost? So they're gonna be like, No, that is not true.

Kyle Mountsier  01:56

Well, yeah, and so it's super new technology. But it comes from outside of the industry, which you know, all three of us always love kind of getting that that insight and people from outside the industry tech companies coming inside and understanding why that's a big deal. So we are really excited to introduce you to Amir and to UVeye. I hope you enjoy all right, we are here with Amir, the CEO and Co-Founder of UVeye, a new tech company to auto at least over the last couple of years. Amir, thanks for joining us, man.

Amir Hever  02:32

Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Kyle Mountsier  02:34

Yeah, absolutely. So I want to start with this because people will hear your accent and they'll know right away that you're not from Midwest, Ohio, from Canada, but Oh, Canada. But you UVeye is really it's an international company first. So your story is a founder actually started? Not in the US auto market. Is that right?

Amir Hever  02:59

That's right. So yeah, I'm from Israel. We have the r&d Center in Israel. We have more than 100 people in Israel. But absolutely, we're expanding here. And we have offices both in Ohio, New Jersey, I relocated to New Jersey with a family over a year ago, which is simply great. My daughter actually have a better accent than I do. So that's, that's pretty cool. So we're excited to be here. We're expanding globally. We also have offices in Germany, the UK, and now we're opening offices in Japan. So it's pretty exciting times for us.

Michael Cirillo  03:34

All right, let me get this straight. You start in the homeland security sector, if I remember correctly, how do you connect the dots from Hey, we're in Homeland Security to the automotive industry? How did that all happen?

Amir Hever  03:49

So I'm actually we started as say, we started in a homeland security, it all started from in my previous company, we visited the Minister of Economics, and when we try to enter the parking lot, the security guards simply lay over the road to see if we have anything underneath the vehicle. We asked him, he gets down on

Paul Daly  04:13

one knee whatever you do, forward if you're up to no good I'm under here.

Amir Hever  04:23

So when we actually asked them whether you can see something he has, he said no. But if you explode inside, they will look on the cameras and say that I tried to do my job. And you immediately understand that something is really not working there. So um, so eventually, the last last company I've been with, we were sold and acquired by Alibaba, the Chinese giant, and they it became the r&d Center in Israel. And then we started UVeye to be able to scan the undercarriage of the vehicle and tell you if there's anything ink that doesn't belong or anything that was modified in the undercarriage. And to be completely honest, after scanning, you know, few 1000s of vehicle, we saw that we're able to see a lot more leakages than bombs in the undercarriage. So

Kyle Mountsier  05:15

you're like we understood, one every 7000 leaks one every two.

Amir Hever  05:22

Exactly. And we understood that we can do a lot for the commercial side. But we didn't really understand exactly how much and exactly what, because we started to get a lot of data, a lot of information. But we didn't know exactly kind of what segments or verticals in the market it will fit to, or how much we can help eventually, to all the customers that we work with today. We were kind of more in the exploring phase to understand exactly what we're seeing, what are the issues in the market? What can we help with? So it took us a few years eventually, to understand where we should focus.

Paul Daly  05:57

That makes a lot I feel like, so I didn't know that story about the security side of the business. You know, the first time I've, I've learned about UVeye is really kind of at NADA last year. And, you know, I saw your people there. And they're, they're dressed up in the mechanic jumpsuits, and, you know, really, for me, I love that kind of stuff, right? So I'm always like, yes, we got like a little theme park going on over here at the UVeye booth. And so like, but I feel like over the last six months, I've been hearing more and more about it as the technology is, is adapting. And really and you know, I know you have Samantha Foster now she's like kind of a force of nature when it comes to the marketing side of the business. So she goes and introduces herself to everybody. But as that as that momentum has been growing inside automotive, what have been your biggest pickups on like, why dealers are leaning into the technology? Because I know you have like several value propositions that are, you know, like the top of mind ones. But are there any value propositions that have surprised you, as you've rolled out more in automotive?

Amir Hever  07:00

Absolutely, yes. And I think he's also kind of, you know, the timing that we write up, we started selling to dealerships, right. In the middle of COVID. You had less technicians, you need to rely more on on technology to help you doing kind of, you know, at least we're covering the detection part to understand really fast, what issues you have in the vehicle. So you can be more efficient, you can have your technicians really work on fixing the problems and not necessarily detecting them. So thank you kind of both our growth as a company and technology, what we were able to introduce to the market, because we needed to understand exactly what issues were solving, right? Is it only finding the leakages or even showing the customer, that everything is fine with this vehicle, it's also part of the experience that we're seeing, the dealerships right now are really, really kind of investing and you know, spending a lot of money eventually to provide a better experience for the customer. So I think it's kind of the market changes that we're seeing the technology that more and more dealerships but I think the whole industry is kind of more leaning towards to because we're seeing the EVs we're seeing autonomous vehicles, companies are especially the auto companies are to embrace more technology. And that also affects the dealerships. And it gave us with the market condition, it gives us a really good timing to introduce new technologies that will help them and will assist their business and eventually, we'll help them also with the customer experience that they're that they're able to provide. One of the things that really surprised us is to be able to really see how many oil leakages we do seeing the vehicles, it was really surprising. We were finding things that we we were really surprised to see people putting pliers to hold their exhaust pipes.

Kyle Mountsier  08:56

The first time I was ever introduced to UVeye someone someone was like, Look, here's this video and it like rolls over and there's pliers like clamp grips that holding two parts together

Paul Daly  09:07

that sounds like that sounds like my childhood mechanic experience because I always remember my dad under the car, not having any idea how to fix a car. But he always had to fix it because we didn't have money to bring it somewhere. So that might have been a leftover from you know, like in my Daly family child does the daily sale probably.

Kyle Mountsier  09:27

Well, I you know, what's crazy about that is these, you know, anytime you introduce technology, and I love how you said like it affects the employee experience because they're freed up to actually do the work and the you know, the advisor maybe isn't having to, but it also affects the consumer experience is a big deal. But I think what's really interesting to me is from what I know, especially like from a from a used car operation standpoint, and I was in the operation side of the business and sales manager. One of the things that we always knew is like, there were seven things that every technician would see every single time, right. And, you know, if anybody's ever been in used cars or ever had that pencil back to him, You know what those seven things are. And they they normally dealt with a couple of different leakages, but and nothing against the technician, but you're kind of trained to see, you know, certain things more often, especially on certain vehicles. So what, what's interesting to me is, like, we saw all of these things have, have you noticed a trend toward like, certain repairs, or certain things getting found that weren't typically getting found? And that that's like freed up, you know, either resources or moved revenue for for some dealers.

Amir Hever  10:37

So yeah, and I think, what we're trying to create, and that's part of it, kind of, because we're seeing so many vehicles, so many brands, different wear and tear over vehicles, we're really able to leverage all the data that we're seeing to give you an accurate reading, right? Because if you think about it, and you have a technician, now he is saying you have a leakage. And to understand how severe is the leakage? It's, you know, it's hard to tell because it's really based on who's, who's checking the vehicle, or if you have rust on the chassis, how do you know if it severe rust if it's something that can harm the safety of the vehicle, or it's something that you know, you can drive the vehicle and everything would be fine for next two years. And you don't need to do anything. And it's part of if you need to appraise the vehicle, it is, is it something that you need to take into consideration or not? So we're bringing kind of everything that we're learning from all four data, and we're creating some some kind of a standard and standard way to really understand the issues that we're seeing. So it really gives you the feedback, if it's something that you should be aware of something you should you need to fix, and eventually how much it was, it should cost you. So if you're the consumer eventually, and you're coming to, you know, for trade in, or to sell your vehicle, you know, exactly based on everything that we've seen so far, whether it's a real issue, and then how much you know, you actually need to spend in order to fix the issue. So it's kind of a different view that you know, companies had so far, but but now we're really starting to leverage all the data that we're seeing from everywhere. And that's create a lot of new opportunities and, you know, in services that we can provide to our customers.

Kyle Mountsier  12:25

Now, here's, here's my most interesting question of the day.

Paul Daly  12:28

Well, we'll

Michael Cirillo  12:29

be the, ya know, our watch. Pretty cool. Okay.

Paul Daly  12:33

Now, you're really gonna work for you.

Kyle Mountsier  12:36

Have you considered this because I'm only a few years away from this in my life, Paul's kind of into this world. Have you considered beginning to market this to dads that are letting their kids drive their cars, when they get that driving age, pulling into the driveway, just to know if things got a little arrived? While they were out? I'm just saying, there's a market segment there, I feel like you could attract.

Amir Hever  13:04

So that's a before and after, right before the kid vehicle for the weekend. And after the weekend. So

Michael Cirillo  13:10

I'm seeing like, you know what I would love to see, I would love to see a dealership deploy like a Pawn Stars style YouTube, or like TV series, where they have to break it to people that their car has the pliers holding things together. It's like, there's nothing more entertaining than watching someone walk into Pawn Stars thinking that what they had was worth a tire. Yeah, and having just camera set up as that thing goes through the UVeye system. And then the dealer having to break the news to the customer. Like sorry, Karen


is actually a Camry with a kit. Again, we would like get over the Porsche kit. Oh, man, that's great.

Paul Daly  13:59

So okay, so Amir, recently, you you've won a award that I think is pretty coveted across the industry. Can you tell us about the award and you know, kind of how you felt the moment that you found that you want it.

Amir Hever  14:12

So absolutely we won the Automotive News award for the All Star for the in the Fixed Ops vendor category. This is really, really, really exciting for us, because it kind of shows that the industry embrace and started to recognize what we were doing in the last few years. So this is, you know, this is huge for us. And the fact that we were, you know, we we were able to win the award from from Automotive News, which is, which is huge. This is really exciting for us when we found out we were really happy and you know, this is exactly what we wanted to do and to recognize in the last few years. And still we are doing so many things. And I think this is right now this is only the beginning. Um, you know, we are working with a lot of dealerships where we have their relationship with GM, we have the relationship with Volvo. I mean, more and more dealerships will start getting our systems. And and you know, this is an amazing and exciting times for us. But also, we have two more segments in the market that will start deploying systems in the next few months. So we're also very, you know, we're working really hard on the fleet solution. And also on the used car marketplaces, we worked with Carmax, which is, you know, they're an amazing partner as well. So definitely, hopefully next year, we'll have another award on different segments.

Paul Daly  15:38

You need a trophy case you go Alright, tell me this. What did did they send you something nice? What did they send you? I hope KC Crane is watching this because we're about to turn the heat up a little bit. Do you get like a golden play button or something like that? What did you get?

Amir Hever  15:54

So the funny thing is, I'm not getting those stuff. It's Samantha and Yaron . So they're getting all the cool stuff.

Paul Daly  16:03

And you just got to do this lousy interview, right? Like they made

Michael Cirillo  16:11

this was really cool. They they wanted us to give the students a $25 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse.

Paul Daly  16:19

I think they have those in New Jersey.

Kyle Mountsier  16:21

So what is next because I, you know, like, as technologies change, and grow and expand, and yours actually like changes and grows and expand? Because I've seen like the, you know, the set deck next to it, and now it's got the big arch. I think you call it Artemis, or you see the whole car. But what's what's next? Is it like micro refining, is an understanding via learning is it connected platforms? What's next for UVeye and like the way that it leverages technology to serve the industry.

Amir Hever  16:49

So in a way, we introduced the actual slide, which is the system that scans the exterior, and it opened a lot of opportunities, especially for dealerships. What's next, so you know, the market is evolving, we see more EVs and definitely understanding the wear and tear in EVs and understanding kind of, you know, we're starting to see really excessive tire wear in EVs, and I think everyone are starting to realize why because the batteries are really heavy, and we're seeing that cars are now weighed a lot more. So it really affects the tires, we're able to find issues, you know, in the battery cells, especially when we scan the undercarriage, so we adding one more features all the time, the beauty of the system is that we're we don't really need to change the setup or the hardware, we keep working the brain and the brain is in the software. So we keep adding more and more features all the time. So you know, at dealerships that is using our system today just on a weekly basis, getting more and more features all the time. So EVs autonomous vehicles, to understand the sensors of the vehicle, and to understand if the vehicle is working properly. And all the services are working. And if there are any issues. And of course, more leveraging the data that we're collecting, offering additional services, maybe, you know, you know, bringing more business opportunities to to dealerships that we'll work with. So this is these are kind of the things that we're working on right now. And definitely we're going to have a lot of announcements in the next few months.

Kyle Mountsier  18:15

Have you seen any dealers purchase and install these in places other than, like a service lane? I'm just thinking there's, there's like, places that you could put this that would be high traffic that could lead to service revenue or to purchasing cars? Have you seen any of that at this point?

Amir Hever  18:33

So not necessarily dealerships, but absolutely, you know, other businesses, we are in touch with turnpike's that they will like to put the system in their service area. So, you know, we can offer to people that are driving the turnpike to scan their vehicle, understand if there are any safety issues, anything that they need to fix. So they can be perfectly safe, you know, when understand that their vehicle is safe. We're in touch with, you know, with malls to put it as part of their parking lots. So you can get an estimate for the vehicle, you can understand if something is wrong with the vehicle while you're going to the shopping mall. So absolutely, we will install more and more units that eventually will affect and consumers will be able to see us in more places besides the dealerships. But right now we're focusing on the dealerships.

Paul Daly  19:25

That makes sense.

Michael Cirillo  19:26

Do you even like I'm listening to all of this? I get excited when I come up with like a new variation of a card game. How do you like cool, I've always wanted to own a 3d printer to maybe prototype something. How do you even connect the dots like what were you doing before all of this before you came in touch with us? The hardware and how do you even start sourcing to put stuff like this together? This is what I want to know maybe nobody else wants to NOTICE listening to the show. I'm curious about this piece because it, it interests me It blows my mind how you're able to see an opening, seeing an opening, is one thing, being able to


driving over the guy at the at the place that yes, everybody's like this is wrong, right. But where do you go from? This is wrong. This is solved.

Michael Cirillo  20:19

Yeah, like, I've got a drawer full of napkin business models. I mean, you, what were the pieces that connected for you like, how do you even source a business model like this.

Amir Hever  20:32

So in my background, I'm an Image Processing Engineer. So I do a lot of computer vision, all the companies I've been involved with in the past, they're all around computer vision. Actually, my brother come from he's the, you know, he's the co founder, he comes more from the hardware side, working with cameras on saying how to build a camera setup that will be able to do the 3d modeling and everything. And basically, we've combined kind of our knowledge and experience into buildings, building something. And I, we have a really, really great team. So all of our management, and all four employees are involved in kind of our strategy, what we would like to do next, eventually, if you think about it, our computer vision engineers and UVeye, although a lot of them didn't really know anything about cars before they started working with us. Now they understand cars really, really, really good. Because they're seeing old, I mean, all day long, they're seeing kind of the examples, the images. So, you know, we seen kind of a shift in the product requirements that is being moved or transition into kind of the abilities that our engineers are able to provide, after seeing kind of all the data that we're able to collect, which is interesting for a tech company. It's a really interesting transition, because basically the ones that are now saying the capabilities of the product, or the engineers, which is which is really interesting.

Michael Cirillo  22:05

Yeah, I just that kind of stuff blows my mind. I just feel like I need to say congratulations, because, you know, we get so much praise. And I'm like, what the flip did we do? We we made sure multitrack was enabled and hit a record button.

Paul Daly  22:24

Honey, today, I'll take it.

Michael Cirillo  22:27

I love hearing the kind of the behind the scenes story. And I think a lot of people in the industry do because so often we only get the NADA presentation or the webinar speaking event to be able to hear like no, there was this opening, we we assembled these hard to assemble pieces into something that made sense. And and it took shape, I think is so incredibly inspiring not just for business owners in the auto industry, but for those that are on the front lines that are like how can I innovate inside of my day to day or, or, you know, service writers or technicians like there's so much that you can do inside of the sphere that you work inside of to come up with, and move that heavy object and create a path forward that's bigger and bolder than you probably ever could have anticipated. So I think that's awesome. I love hearing that stuff like that.

Amir Hever  23:18

Thank you. And I think it's really important also to have design partners. So we at the beginning, when we deployed systems, we had kind of better customers that understood that, you know, we're still learning, we're still understanding exactly what we're able to provide. And kind of what results we're able to, to provide. So we had a lot of support from the industry as well. And that's amazing. You don't have a lot of industries where the actual customers are for thinking understand that the market is changing. And now they would like to see what more they can do. And you know, it's amazing to to work in an industry that you have a lot of a lot of businesses and a lot of partners that are able to give you that ability.

Paul Daly  24:03

That's true. That is such a unique thing about the automotive industry, which is one of the reasons we love it so much because it really is a big community that wants to see a win across the board, even if it doesn't directly translate right now to me getting ahead right, everyone's always in it together. Amir, CEO, co founder of UVeye thank you so much for spending some time with us today.

Amir Hever  24:25

Thank you for having me. Thanks a lot.

Paul Daly  24:31

Having a security guy lay under a vehicle to scan for potential threats is just the job that I'm not signing up for.

Kyle Mountsier  24:41

i Yeah, I'm waiting. I'm waiting for like the technicians. They're all like out in the lane right now. Like

Michael Cirillo  24:51

you even had the audio

Paul Daly  24:55

level podcasting right there.

Michael Cirillo  24:58

expert level When he said that I was like, there's a whole bunch of grunting that goes along with that, because I don't know a grown man can't get down,

Paul Daly  25:06

down on one knee, then down on both knees and then the Lean under the View.

Kyle Mountsier  25:11

It's interesting because this is very, you know, another friend of ours that is that is originally not from this country. And we interviewed him a couple of months back, which was Slawek, Cyrillic wizard. No, yeah. He's from Canada. No, but Slawek and similar story with car scanner. And he's like, Yeah, I was doing this car rental return. And they couldn't tell me whether it was me or him. And so I just had to go solve for it. And the fact that this is a very similar story in not the same exact type of technology, but also looking at a car that it's like, I saw someone doing this, and cameras and technology should be able to solve for that. And then to bring that from Homeland Security into auto. Such an interesting, just story and like, the way Cirillo, you know, you're saying just the way that people see the world and take things from idea to solution is a really big deal to me, because that's, that's not, that's not your everyday person, I feel like everybody and their brother goes into a restaurant and is like, I could run this better, but nobody goes and runs it better. And, and this is an example of a guy in a team that that's doing that for multiple industries.

Michael Cirillo  26:23

I just think like, we're at time recording this, we're headed into the Thanksgiving holiday. Black Friday's coming up, there are legit people thinking a week in advance about how they can get in line early enough to get 27.

Paul Daly  26:38

Me anymore, man?

Michael Cirillo  26:40

How do I assemble this hardware to scan cars to tell you how rusty they are? Meanwhile, I'm

Paul Daly  26:46

like, like, how do I position my fat pants in the right spot that halfway through the day? I can grab them and keep going. You know what I'm saying? I think we all understand what's going on here. Either way, thank you so much for spending some time with us today. It is so much fun to just see this ingenuity and these personalities coming into automotive and really shaping in the future to things that at some point in the future, we're going to be like that's not the way it always has been because it makes that much sense. We have Kyle Mountsier Michael Cirillo myself. Thank you for listening to Auto Collabs. Sign up


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