The Tyndall Institute is to collaborate with Limerick-based tech manufacturer Arralis to develop technology that can be used in autonomous vehicles, next-generation 5G mobile communications, and other data-intensive applications.
Tyndall will partner with Arralis in a €400,000 research development agreement on the area of mmWave fabrication technology, which aims to cater for the increasing demands of data-hungry processes - including driverless cars which will need to communicate with its ever-changing surrounding environment as it travels.
In mobile technology, while current 4G communications use a lower frequency of around 1 gigahertz (GHz) to send data, 5G will use higher frequencies, on what is known as the millimeter wave spectrum, which can carry more data at higher speeds.
The Ka band, in the 26.5–40 gigahertz range of the spectrum, supports high data rates, device connectivity, data collection and traffic handling capacity at lower latency than current technologies.
Experts predict this means 5G will be up to 60 times faster than 4G networks.
The applications of the technology will cater to the growing field of ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) devices, and autonomous vehicles - which require unimpeded data access to connected vehicles.
Carlo Webster, senior strategic business development executive at Tyndall National Institut, described the arrangement as a highly effective collaboration “as well as a timely one”, given the proposed testing of autonomous vehicles on Ireland’s road infrastructure in the coming years.
"Arralis is a leader in the field of mmWave design and together with Tyndall, we will accelerate innovation in this and other areas,” he said.
Tyndall’s senior staff scientist Dr James Rohan welcomed the collaboration and investment.
“We are delighted to work with Arralis on this exciting project which combines Tyndall’s micro-fabrication expertise in thick-film electrochemical simulation, processing, integration and testing with the design capabilities of Arralis for the rapidly developing mmWave device market,” he said.
Marie Bourke, Arralis business process manager and technical programme manager, said new cost-effective, high-volume and geometry-scaled mmWave manufacturing is needed to meet future IoT demands.
“Our data-hungry society demands constant, uninterrupted access to more and more information, and this demand will only increase in the future,” she said.
The development of new Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits is supported by Enterprise Ireland through the Innovation Partnership programme.