Apr 12 2011 Posted: 00:00 IST
The Connaught Automotive Research (CAR) Group at NUI Galway has announced a strategic research agreement with Valeo Vision Systems, one of the world's leading manufacturers of automotive vision systems. The CAR Group at NUI Galway researches topics related to automotive vision systems to help improve road safety by allowing drivers to see blind spots around vehicles. The ultimate aim of such research is to develop intelligent cars that have a greater 'awareness' of their environment and a greater ability to avoid crashes, for example. Valeo has a presence in 27 countries, with its Irish operations based in Tuam, Co. Galway, where it recently announced a significant increase in its Research and Development activities. Its partnership with NUI Galway is already making an impact according to Peter Reilly, R&D Director at Valeo Vision Systems: "Having access to a world class research group such as CAR means that we have a pool of new technology, ideas and potential employees right on our doorstep. We already have a number of NUI postgraduates who have been involved with the CAR Group working at our R&D offices in Tuam and they are really making an impact on our engineering capabilities." Under the directorship of Dr Martin Glavin and Dr Edward Jones, the CAR Group is based in the discipline of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway. It comprises of a team of researchers who work in close collaboration with industry on the development of the image processing systems. Dr Glavin commented: "Having a market leader as a research partner provides the CAR Group with a breadth and depth of knowledge of the requirements of industry that we might not otherwise be able to access. We have a fantastic working relationship with Valeo Vision Systems and they have been extremely supportive of our work at NUI Galway over the years. Our researchers gain invaluable experience by learning about the industry first-hand from people who work in that market every day." Dr Jones added: "Our research with Valeo allows us to exploit our expertise in signal processing and related technologies in a very relevant way. Furthermore, the fact that our Masters and PhD-level graduates are already being employed in significant numbers by companies like Valeo is a tangible example of the value of investment in University research, and with Valeo's recent announcement of 100 new jobs, we see a growing demand for highly qualified graduates". Over the years, the CAR Group at NUI Galway has received funding from Enterprise Ireland, IRCSET and directly from industry. Dr Neil Ferguson, Acting Director of the NUI Galway Technology Transfer Office, says the partnership with Valeo Vision Systems is very much alingned to the University's core mission of supporting regional developoment. He states: "Valeo is an excellent example of a knowledge-intensive company who are successfully competing in a very competitive market. We hope to contribute to this success through the provision of experienced PhD graduates and innovative technologies."