On Thursday evening 19 September 2019, an audience at IT Sligo in its Aurivo Theatre engaged in an open forum with industry experts, including several engineers working nationally, on the topic of the future of transport. The event which was open to the public, students, engineers and business leaders was organised by Engineers Ireland, the professional membership body for engineers in Ireland in association with its North West regional branch which covers Sligo and Leitrim. This branch is chaired by local engineer Rowan O’Callaghan.
Entitled Driving Forward: Electric and Autonomous Vehicles in a Connected Infrastructure, there was a particular emphasis on the evening on the use of the private car and the movement towards electric cars. The speakers also discussed ‘driving towards driverless’ and the new mobility revolution which is sweeping the globe with the introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles (or CAVs) which are compelling us to reimagine how transport is delivered.
What this all means for the future of our road network, the travel pattern of people and the movement of goods was also discussed.
Pictured on the 19th September at IT Sligo at the Engineers Ireland North West Regional Branch forum on the future of transport called Driving Forward: Electric and Autonomous Vehicles in a Connected Infrastructure are Engineers Ireland’s North West committee and Marguerite Sayers, President of Engineers Ireland.
Speakers included Marguerite Sayers, President of Engineers Ireland and Chartered Engineer, Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs at AA Ireland, Niall Hogan, Head of E-Mobility, ESB, Dr John McCarthy, Associate Director and Leader of Intelligent Mobility, ARUP, Dr James McDonald, Computational Astrophysicist, Computer-Vision Algorithm Developer & Embedded Lead, Valeo Vision Systems and Helen Hughes, Director of Professional Services at Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Eamon Dillane, an E Car Advocate.
Speaking at the opening of the Forum, Marguerite Sayers, President of Engineers Ireland, said: “This evening, you our audience, will be provided with the opportunity to learn from and engage with experts, a number of them engineers, working nationally who will talk about the exciting world of transport, something which is so essential in our daily lives. Transport helps us to connect with one another more easily and improve the distribution of goods and services over long distances.”
She added: “Having transport infrastructure that meets the requirements of Irish society and our economy is essential. However, in Ireland, we have a high dependency on cars because of our dispersed settlement pattern around the country and low population density which contribute to a high proportion of journeys being made by private car.
“By 2040 the population of Ireland is expected to grow by over 1 million to 5.7 million people. This growth will drive greater demand for transport. While this is a sign of a vibrant economy, it intensifies our challenge to remove carbon from the air – as transport accounted for 19.8% of Ireland’s greenhouse gases in 2017.
“Furthermore, air pollution emitted from transportation contributes to poor local air quality which harms health.”
Marguerite Sayers also said; “Therefore when it comes to how we get from A to B, a significant shift away from internal combustion engine vehicles in the transport sector is needed. We are talking about societal transformation here.”
Marguerite Sayers said engineers have a key role to play in the transition to a sustainable, carbon-free society and have a key role to play in developing new technologies, services and infrastructure.
She remarked that: “It is no coincidence that ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September and the Global Climate Strike tomorrow Friday 20 September, we are holding this forum in Sligo which at its core is looking at the decarbonisation of transport.”
Marguerite concluded by thanking her Regional Branch members – all local engineers – for their work in organising the Forum. She said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with members of our Branch for this Future Transport Forum. I would like to thank Rowan O’Callaghan who is Chair of this Region, but also the other Committee members who have worked hard in preparation for this event which is part of Engineers Ireland’s One Society, Our Contribution series of regional events – Francis Fidgeon, Tomás O’Flaherty, Matthew Robb, George Chadda and John O’Gorman. “