UCC CONNECT team in new €4.2m driverless vehicles research

Prof. Cormac Sreenan and Dr Aisling O'Driscoll

CONNECT researchers at UCC Dr Aisling O’Driscoll, Prof. Cormac Sreenan, and Dr Hossein Ajorloo, are part of a new €4.2m research programme on driverless vehicles, launched by Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation.

The research will focus on challenges facing the use of driverless vehicles in environments with pedestrians, animals and human-operated vehicles. The research programme is a collaboration of three Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) research centres – CONNECT, Lero and Insight – whose researchers will work with multinational industry partners such as Jaguar Land Rover, Kostal, Liebherr and Valeo; large indigenous Irish companies like Combilift and Dairymaster; and smaller Irish companies including Greenval, Mobimetrix, PMS Pavement Management Services Ltd, Reamda and Transpoco.

CONNECT Funded Investigator Dr Aisling O’Driscoll, who will work with industry partners on three separate projects, said: “The launch of this collaboration is a significant development as it brings together researchers from three key areas: software, analytics and connectivity. CONNECT’s researchers will focus on the connectivity challenge. 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. Ultimately, the goal is to make transport safer, less congested, and more environmentally friendly.”

Prof. Cormac Sreenan, Deputy Director of CONNECT and School of Computer Science and Information Technology, will investigate the emerging industry standard for driverless cars (the first draft of which is set to be released December 2019), focusing on its ability to meet the stringent communication requirements such as extended sensing, cooperative manoeuvre, and cooperative safety. Dr Hossein Ajorloo will examine the use of millimetre waves for the high data rate communications required by driverless vehicles, while UCC colleague Dr Paolo Palmieri will focus on security and privacy issues arising from the growing use of such connected vehicles.

Speaking at the programme launch, Minister Humphreys said, “Future Jobs Ireland is all about embracing innovation and technological change and this type of project is a great example of the capacity we have here in Ireland to be at the forefront of these cutting-edge developments. It is especially pleasing that in addition to the involvement of our universities this research also involves companies in Kerry, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Cork, Dublin and Monaghan.”

Dr Siobhan Roche, Director Science for the Economy, Science Foundation Ireland added, “Autonomous systems (AS) represent a disruptive technology that is a crucial component of many industries, all of which are key to Ireland’s future growth. The research knowledge gained in this programme will help to build world-leading capability in AS, helping to establish Ireland as an important player in the autonomous IT eco-system and delivering outcomes that can play a significant part in Ireland’s economy.”

CONNECT is the world leading Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. CONNECT is funded under the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres Programme and is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. We engage with over 35 companies including large multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. CONNECT brings together world-class expertise from ten Irish academic institutes to create a one-stop-shop for telecommunications research, development and innovation.