Embracing driverless car technologies could create up to 100,000 jobs in Ireland, according to a report by professional services and engineering firm, Arup.
The report says that Ireland is well positioned to be a leading global hub for connected-tech and autonomous vehicle companies – particularly as some of the biggest technology companies are already based in the country, taking advantage of the lower-tax regime.
However, the report cautions that Ireland must act swiftly to take advantage of the opportunity, by ensuring that the right local talent is in place to develop connected technologies, and – importantly – that local road networks are fit for purpose.
“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,” said John McCarthy, associate director and leader of Intelligent Mobility for Arup in Ireland.
The report says that it is a misconception that a country that does not have a significant track record in vehicle manufacturing would be unable to host the research, testing, and deployment of connected/autonomous vehicles.
“It is important to remember that the vehicle itself is made up of components, hardware and software that power its performance and capabilities. This is where Ireland has a proven knowledge base and excellence,” said McCarthy.
Growth in the global connected car market is expected over the next five years, by all analyst estimates.
McCarthy believes that with over 5,000 companies and several thousands jobs already in the local digital, ICT, and financial services sectors, Ireland is now ideally positioned to take a leading role in the creation of new jobs that are linked to next-generation vehicles.
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To grasp these opportunities, Ireland will need to create a suitable infrastructure for backbone development and testing, as Arup suggests.
It will also need to hothouse high-calibre expertise in areas such as cybersecurity, data centres, management, video analytics, infotainment, autonomy systems, communications networks, and sensors, putting it in direct competition with the UK, which also boasts skills in these areas.
The economic benefits associated with autonomous vehicles have been estimated at anywhere between one and eight percent of GDP growth. By linking this growth back into the relevant sectors, Arup calculates that Ireland could create 100,000 new jobs in direct and indirect services for connected/autonomous vehicles by 2030.
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