These days, the innoBots CEO is more defensive-minded, as he works to start up his robotic-focused company in Gainesville.
“You come to a stage in your age when you say ‘let’s do the opposite,’” Peleg said during an interview at his plant Thursday at 2349 Centennial Drive. “Let’s try to save lives instead of take them.”
He is marketing the products still toward the military but also law enforcement.
The company has three lines of products: robotics, vision systems and mobile phone applications.
“All of our products are designed to be simple to use,” Peleg said. “Law enforcement and military don’t want to spend weeks on training how to use your equipment.”
One of its key robots can be used to search out homemade explosives, such as the roadside bombs that plagued U.S. missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The company’s flagship device is the 70-pound, 2-feet-high innoCarrier equipped with a camera and able to carry 300 pounds of gear and personnel at speeds up to 10 mph over all terrains.
The innoBots fleet also includes smaller, unmanned devices the company refers to as “gear-ready.” Gear-ready innoMicro, innoMedio and innoFly are “versatile, compact mobile robots that easily fit inside a pocket or backpack,” states a company news release.
“They are designed for a single operator to quickly gather data — intelligence in the field, surveillance and reconnaissance — (that is) ideal in law enforcement (and for) first responders and border patrol applications.”
Peleg moved his business to the U.S. because it has “the biggest market.”
Plus, “we think there’s a lot of demand around the world and it’s easier to sell our product from the U.S. to the other countries.”
But he almost didn’t get to launch his business in Gainesville.
Soon after announcing it in January, he returned to Israel, where he had a regular checkup with his doctor.
Within a few days, he was undergoing a quintuple bypass surgery on his heart.
“I was having no symptoms and otherwise feeling good,” Peleg said. “It was a big surprise, but a good one.”
The health scare ended up holding his schedule by a couple of months, but “the doctor told me, ‘Now, you get an extra 30 years.’”
He has been in the U.S. now for three months, bringing his family with him “to help arrange everything.”
The company’s startup comes at a time when tensions are high across the globe, but particularly in the Middle East where the Islamic State group is creating havoc and drawing airstrikes from the U.S.
Some Americans worry about security at home, with possible acts of terrorism.
“It’s a different world and it’s becoming worse and worse,” said Peleg, who served in the Israeli Army, as required by the country, for three years. “You never know who is standing next to you and who is the bad guy and the good guy.”
He hopes to get operations in Gainesville up and running in a month or so.
Initially, only a handful of people work for the company, but by the end of next year, that number may be more than 20. In the next three years, the company could have 50 workers.
Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said that innoBots holds a unique place among area industries.
“It’s not that atypical for businesses to be working with robotics, but this one produces robots, and that’s a little unusual,” he said.