Rail Vision (NASDAQ: RVSN) — Company Overview

David Keller
8 min readApr 9, 2024

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Rail Vision Ltd (RVSN) is a firm that designs, develops, assembles, and sells railway detection systems for railway operational safety, efficiency, and predictive maintenance. It is a development-stage company, and in recent times, the company has shown steady progress to suggest it is on the right track to revolutionizing the railway industry globally, potentially emerging as a category leader in the long run. Knorr-Bremse, a global railway industry giant headquartered in Germany, has already invested $25 million in Rail Vision in a vote of confidence for the company’s tech. The massive scale of Knorr-Bremse and its industry backing will come in handy for Rail Vision in several ways, including for expansion and M&A transactions. Rail Vision seems an attractive bet as the company sets out to transform the railway industry with its innovative, high-tech solutions that promise to save millions of dollars for railway companies every year and minimize casualties.

Company Profile

Rail Vision focuses on creating state-of-the-art technology systems for autonomous-drive trains and for accident prevention. The company was founded by four individuals (including the current CEO Shahar Hania) in 2016. Rail Vision is headquartered in Ra’anana, Israel, and employs 60 individuals with 48 of them working in research and development.

Rail Vision’s objective is to design solutions to mitigate railway accidents and related loss of life and financial burdens for railway companies. These accidents, according to empirical evidence, are mainly caused by obstacles and faulty railway infrastructure. The majority of severe railway accidents occur because the braking distance is substantially longer than the driver’s visual capacity.

The Solutions

Rail Vision is addressing common challenges faced by the railway sector

Source: Investor presentation

The company offers two main products; MainLine and Switch Yard. These systems can partially or fully automate train movements, identify hazards on tracks, improve efficiency and safety through speed control, and even halt the movements of trains automatically if needed.

The Lucrative Relationship With Knorr-Bremse

Rail Vision’s relationship with Knorr-Bremse, which stems from the latter’s strategic investments in Rail Vision, will be a key growth driver in the future. Rail Vision will benefit from this partnership in several ways.

First, Knorr-Bremse’s massive global reach will help Rail Vision attract potentially large customers and even help the company penetrate new market segments. For a young, small company such as Rail Vision, strategic partnerships will be the key driver of growth in the early stages. Knorr-Bremse’s backing will likely prove to be a durable competitive advantage in the long run for Rail Vision, helping the company thwart the threat of competition from other up-and-coming competitors.

Second, Rail Vision is well-positioned to leverage Knorr-Bremse’s 100-year-old expertise in rail systems, enabling the company to avoid catastrophic events that may tarnish its image and reputation during the early stages of business. In addition, this expertise will help Rail Vision design and manufacture solutions that are likely to be perceived as superior products in the market given Knorr-Bremse’s backing.

Third, Rail Vision is likely to benefit from technological transfer between the two companies where Knorr-Bremse will focus on exchanging its expertise on mechatronic systems for Rail Vision’s expertise on new-age technologies such as AI-backed electro-optic sensors and object detection systems.

Finally, Knorr-Bremse’s backing ensures Rail Vision will have access to growth capital if the company’s products start gaining traction aggressively in the market, prompting high-value investments in R&D and product development to keep up with demand. This financial backing could turn out to be the differentiator between Rail Vision and its closest rivals.

The Market Opportunity

Although the number of railway accidents in the EU has declined in the last decade, the EU still suffers massive financial and human losses each year due to such accidents. According to Eurostat, in 2022, 1,615 major railway accidents were reported in the EU region, killing 808 people and critically wounding another 513.

Railway accidents in the EU (source: Eurostat)

The situation is not any different in the United States as well. According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 8,837 railway accidents/incidents in the U.S. in 2023, causing the death of 869 people. Total injuries stood at a staggering 5,200 in 2023. According to the European Union Agency for Railways, these accidents cost a staggering EUR 3.2 billion per annum, which includes the cost of fatalities, the cost of serious injuries, material damages, cost of delays, and costs to the environment.

These statistics reveal that, despite technological advancements, the railway industry continues to face major challenges in eliminating the risks to a meaningful degree. This has created an opening for newcomers to introduce innovative technologies, and Rail Vision has emerged as a top contender to solve some of the major challenges faced by the industry.

Ongoing Projects and Future Potential

Rail Vision has planned many strategic collaborations with Israel Railways. A MOU with Israel Railways was signed for a long-term pilot and delivery of 6–10 units, with a potential for an additional 200 units. Additionally, Israel Railways is also looking into the possibilities of the installation of Switch Yard systems due to safety benefits. A part of this ongoing strategic movement has paid off recently. On March 26, the company announced it had received approval from one of the leading providers of mobility solutions, Alstom SA, to install AI-driven MainLine system on Alstom’s locomotives. This approval can be seen as a significant milestone, as this is a part of the previously announced first commercial installation of the company with the national Israel Railways. Israel Railways has purchased ten Rail Vision MainLine systems to be installed on Alstom’s locomotives. This deal stands as a testimony to the quality of the MainLine system.

Last February, Rail Vision announced that it is joining NVIDIA Metropolis for a partner program focused on bringing to market a new generation of vision AI applications which are likely to be key to the Switch Yard solution development. NVIDIA Metropolis is known for its easy-to-use and cost-effective technical assistance for its partners. With this deal, Rail Vision will use the NVIDIA Jetson and other NVIDIA edge AI platforms for accelerated computing in compact and energy-efficient modules, and the NVIDIA TensorRT software development kit for high-performance deep learning inference.

Rail Vision also received a pilot order from Loram, a major provider of railway maintenance services in the United States, for its AI-driven Switch Yard System. According to the reports, this particular project aims to enhance Loram’s rail track maintenance operations with Rail Vision’s AI technology. This, along with a notable sale to a Class 1 U.S. Railroad Company and a substantial order from a leading U.S.-based rail contractor valued at up to $5 million, marks the significant expansion of Rail Vision’s presence into the American market.

Looking at the bigger picture, the autonomous driving/computer vision industry as well as the railway industry are growing at a steady rate. Rail Vision, as a company prioritizing the goal of revolutionizing the railways, has an edge in both markets. The aging railway infrastructure around the world necessitates upgrades. This presents an opportunity for companies like Rail Vision to provide advanced safety solutions with the latest technology as countries invest in modernization efforts. Ever since the rise of e-commerce, global trade has led to an increase in freight traffic through railways. This has forced operators to ensure more safe and efficient transportation, potentially driving demand for Rail Vision to make it possible. Along with this, passenger safety remains a paramount concern for rail operators, and governments worldwide are also implementing stricter safety regulations fueling further demand for the latest error-preventing measures and systems.

Although Rail Vision is still a newcomer with a limited sales history, there are a few exciting pilot projects and deals on the horizon that paint a promising outlook for the next few financial years. Rail Vision, as it should, is currently focused on winning new customers and improving the underlying technology of its systems. Partnerships with established industry players like Nvidia are not only going to come in handy with the technological support but also would be a treasure trove of potential clients and networks. For firms like Rail Vision, R&D expenses are rather a capital expenditure than an operational expense. So, it is safe to assume the net research and development expenses of $13.3 million incurred in the last two years would start to produce meaningful returns to the company in the future.

Financial Performance

In 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, Rail Vision made notable progress by securing a few wins, highlighting the long-term potential of the company.

During this period, the company sold its first systems, including delivery to a leading Latin American mining company, and secured funding worth $12.2 million through a few private placements and a warrant exercise. Rail Vision was able to expand its presence in the U.S. market. The company received an order for its Switch Yard System from a major Class 1 freight rail company. Additionally, a partnership with the AI industry leader Nvidia came into reality as well. Rail Vision also struck a supply contract with a leading U.S. rail and leasing services company (valued at up to $5 million). The development of the next generation of AI-based systems was also announced in this period.

During May and June last year, Rail Vision raised approximately $6 million with two private placements, issuing 3,947,368 ordinary shares and pre-funded warrants and 3,947,368 warrants on each occasion. In January 2024, Rail Vision again closed a private placement, issuing 1,651,458 ordinary shares, 1,394,999 pre-funded warrants, and 4,569,688 warrants, raising $3.5 million. During the first quarter of 2024, the company raised an additional $5.2 million with the exercise of warrants. By the end of 2023, the company had a cash and cash equivalents balance of $3.066 million. Combined with the recently raised funds, this leaves Rail Vision with sufficient liquidity to invest aggressively in R&D efforts to secure future revenue.

Conclusion

Rail Vision is a very interesting company that is tapping into a massive market opportunity. This young company is partnering with some of the biggest names in the industry, from leading railway companies to national railway authorities to tech giants. The demand for advanced railway safety systems will only increase from here, paving the way for Rail Vision to unlock substantial returns from the capital investments incurred so far. Rail Vision stock, after hitting a high of over $15 last January, has retrieved to around $1.70 today as the market enthusiasm has waned in recent times. This presents an opportunity for contrarian investors to initiate a new long position in Rail Vision with a long-term perspective.

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David Keller

Market analyst into the intersection of technology, finance, society, politics, and macro-econ. Straddles the NY-TLV axis. Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat.