Irish researchers have been granted funding worth €4.2m to lead an international study on the development of driverless vehicles.
Working with global firms like Jaguar Land Rover and Kostal, as well as Irish companies like Combilift and Dairymaster, the project is expected to focus on the challenges facing automated vehicles.
This will include studying drivers working in the same environments as pedestrians, animals and human-operated vehicles, as well as drivers' attention and interactions.
The project, led by Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre based at the University of Limerick (UL), will see researchers from Lero, along with researchers at CONNECT and Insight, work with 11 automotive firms.
The ultimate goal of the study is to make transport safer, less congested and more environmentally friendly, according to Dr Aisling O’Driscoll.
"Connectivity is of central importance for autonomous vehicles, which will need to communicate and share information with each other, with the city infrastructure and with vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
"Working with our industry partners, we will explore ways to make communication networks faster, more reliable and capable of handling increased information flows, while preserving privacy."
With revenues from autonomous systems projected to be worth more than €90bn by 2030, the project is hoping to set Ireland up as a key player in the market, according to Lero director Professor Brian Fitzgerald.
“For example, we are already working with companies such as Valeo in Tuam on autonomous vehicle research and it is Ireland’s variable climate and streetscape which gives it an advantage over the more uniform climate and road networks of, for example, San Francisco.”