Creating a Shannon Testbed Facility for Autonomous Vehicles
Future Mobility Campus Ireland, FMCI, sole purpose is to build and manage testbed facilities for Autonomous Connected Electric Shared Vehicles, as well as Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, CAV in Ireland.
The first project will be a CAV testbed facility, located in the Shannon Campus. As project partners, The Shannon Airport Group will play a key role in the initiation and process of delivering this facility for FMCI.
What is Future Mobility?
This concept focuses on how people and goods will move with future technologies. The creation of FMCI stems from a change in consumer demands, as well as the need for environmental conservation.
The discussion around Future Mobility includes; Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), Electric Vehicles, also Shared Mobility. FMCI look to diversify the mobility industry, to build on industry momentum, and to create new, sustainable jobs for the future.
Across the world, regions are vying to be the home for CAV industry investment. That is why support for these projects across Ireland is essential to secure a long-term, economic future for the sector. This would help to deliver future knowledge and value-add jobs across large multinationals and indigenous SMEs.
Find out more info on the Future Mobility Campus Ireland website.
The origin story..
In mid-2017, Jaguar Land Rover decided to locate their vehicle development centre in Shannon, comprising of a software development centre and a garage for hardware test and integration. The centre’s main goal is to be the hub of JLR’s autonomous and next-generation vehicle projects, moving incrementally towards fully Autonomous Connected Electric Shared Vehicles (ACES).
During the centre’s early development, some employees in JLR saw an opportunity to locate and develop a smart city test hub in Ireland. This is where the developing vehicles and technologies at JLR, and other automotive companies, will be tested in a standardised test environment.
At an automotive conference in early 2019, the idea of what was coined “Future Mobility Campus Ireland” (FMCI) was presented to the audience; it received widespread support and the decision to apply for Enterprise Ireland funding shortly followed. Numerous iterations of the concept, starting with a large-scale test track and simulated urban environment on the northwest side of the airport, were discussed. Eventually, the idea of integrating the smart city infrastructure into the Shannon Campus was considered optimal by the team; and an application for funding to the Regional Enterprise and Development Fund (REDF) was made.
On the 8th of January 2020, Minister Humphries announced that FMCI had been successful in its funding application, and €4.7M was allocated, the largest allocation given to any one company.
The project has a number of key visible features and many features not so apparent. Most prominent is the Control Center, based in Bay 80 in the Shannon Campus, this is the base where the FMCI team work day to day. It comprises a shared working area, data centre, workshops, and events area. The next space is the ‘car park’, this is a controlled and calibrated test area to meet NCAP testing standards and is behind the distribution centre, near the threshold of runway 24. Within the freezone are an extensive network of fibre internet, 5g, WiFi and other equipment to connect the vehicles to allow massive data transfer.
Last is the Advance Air Mobility Research Hub close to the east ramp in the old overflow car park, the latest FMCI development known as FMCI Air. This is an acknowledgement that the infrastructure and technology are intermodal, that it will not just be used for cars but other modes of transport such as air. Here, new drone technology and uses will be tried out with a view to building the infrastructure up to full VertiPort.
FMCI intends to be a collaborative research hub where small teams from different companies can join together on projects such as the recently announced EALU-AER U-space Digital Sky Demonstrator, a SESAR 3 programme. The project will explore how drones and larger electric piloted and unpiloted aircraft will integrate and operate with traditional aviation such as Ryanair and Aer Lingus with the aid of this system.
The future is bright and innovative, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with the FMCI partners to grow the future of mobility in Shannon.