Timing is everything. Amid the Brexit disaster, Jaguar Land Rover is working with global software, mobility and telecoms companies to create a smart city hub in Ireland. If this ever comes about on the scale envisioned, it will allow real-world testing of connected technology where self-driving vehicles share the streets with cars, pedestrians and cyclists. The testbed will be in the Limerick-Shannon metropolitan area at Shannon Free Zone, Shannon, Co. Clare. The future of Irish trade, political sovereignty and access to the EU is dependent on the resolution of Brexit. Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer.
Brexit talks were stopped yet again today (Thursday) when head European Union negotiator Michel Barnier announced a member of his team tested positive for COVID-19. Significant gaps in the auto industry’s ability to plan still exist, with a lack of clarity on the nature of the UK-EU’s future relationship hampering the efforts of almost nine in 10 firms to prepare according to a trade group. A disastrous ‘no deal’ outcome, or failure to achieve workable deal for auto, would mean £47 billion hit to UK sector over next five years – on top of ongoing coronavirus crisis costs, the auto industry claims. Ah, such is the price of blind ideologies who ignore real consequences, economists and political scientists. (see AutoInformed – SMMT – Final Plea for Zero-Tariff Trade Deal As Brexit Negotiations Near End)
The so-called Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) will be a collaborative testbed on 12km of public roads, providing the facilities and expertise to collect sensor data, simulate a variety of road environments and traffic scenarios and test new technologies. As part of the trials, the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE will be deployed for testing.
JLR claims that this will advance its autonomous, connected, electrified and shared vehicles as part of the company’s commitment to making societies safer and healthier with pioneering technology.
The facility will be equipped with sensors throughout the site, along with high-accuracy location systems, a data management and control center and self-driving prototype vehicles. It will have smart junctions, connected roads, autonomous parking and electric vehicle charging, as well as links to a 450km stretch of connected highway and a managed air traffic corridor for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Shannon airport along the Shannon Estuary in Ireland.
Jaguar Land Rover is a lead partner of the FMCI and will collaborate with other global technology companies to develop the facility, including Cisco, Seagate, Renovo, Red Hat, Valeo and Mergon. Traditionally such testing sites have been established overseas. The FMCI provides Jaguar Land Rover with a key research site next to an existing facility: its Shannon software hub.
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