Ireland has a unique opportunity to become the technology centre of excellence for vehicle manufacturers across the globe currently developing connected and autonomous vehicles that drive by themselves on roads and motorways.
According to a special report published by Arup, the international design and engineering company which employs more than 13,000 people in 35 countries, Ireland must act now to take advantage of vehicle technologies and create a safer and more efficient transport network than ever before.
Speaking at the launch of the report: ‘Autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles: Reimagining transport to drive economic growth’, Dr John McCarthy, Associate Director and Leader of Intelligent Mobility for Arup in Ireland, said that approximately 100,000 new jobs could be created in Ireland in direct and indirect services for connected and autonomous vehicles by 2030.
“With over 5,000 technology and finance companies already in Ireland, we are ideally positioned to take a leading role in the creation of new high-end employment opportunities linked both directly and indirectly to the connected and autonomous vehicles market,” he said.
“Grasping these job opportunities will require the creation of a suitable infrastructure for backbone development and testing as well as the development of high-calibre expertise in a range of areas, from artificial intelligence to video analytics.
“Ireland Plc” is uniquely positioned to accelerate job creation across a number of related areas, including: cybersecurity; data centres and management; video analytics; infotainment; autonomy systems; communications networks; and detection sensors,” he said.
The Irish IT sector can also play a key role in developing technology to allow for seamless, stress-free payment mechanisms offering integration with payment services outside of the vehicles themselves -for example, one integrated payment system covering mobile phone usage, fuel costs, online shopping and in-vehicle services.
Dr John McCarthy and Mr Donal Mc Daid from Arup
The development of this technology and the use of driver-assisted systems can reduce human error, which causes 90% of traffic collisions and up to 200 deaths a year.
According to Dr McCarthy, it is also critical that all stakeholders start to work on understanding the required changes to the physical infrastructure including, signage, parking and intelligent transport system as well as the digital infrastructure of telecommunications, data management and cyber security.
“The Government has an essential role to play in both facilitating the smooth and safe introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles onto our roads and helping to ensure that Ireland reaps the maximum economic benefit from these technologies.”
Dr McCarthy also said that the prospect of an unstructured future in which connected and autonomous vehicles do not share their information with road network operators would be a missed opportunity to adopt a “system-wide” approach to the operation of roads, reduction of congestion, safety, improvement of all journeys, and social and affordable mobility for all.
Soon, vehicles will offer the opportunity to interact and share data with each other, as well as infrastructure such as traffic lights and pedestrian countdowns. It is vital for all stakeholders to establish plans for the digital infrastructure needed and requirements for both the data they share with the travelling public and the data and information they expect to receive.
This will depend on robust policy and guidelines around governance, data sharing and the management of data-sharing activities.
Arup has offered to work with the Government to examine current and future infrastructure plans and to embrace the imminent introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles into the road network. It has also offered to help develop a roadmap and strategic vision to create a preferred scenario for the travelling public that is inherently linked to Irish-based capabilities.
Commenting on the publication of the Arup report, Mary Buckley, Executive Director, IDA Ireland said the report highlighted the potential opportunities for Ireland relating to connected & autonomous technologies.
“IDA Ireland are actively targeting Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as areas of growth globally, which is leading to new opportunities in automotive, transport and smart cities.
“Ireland has been successful in attracting some excellent investment in these areas from world leading companies such as IBM, Intel, Analog Devices, Valeo and Magna and more recently Jaguar Land Rover.
“We believe that Ireland is well positioned to capture additional investment across these sectors as companies continue to invest in these emerging technology areas,’ he said. – Ends –