Nicole Finucane, a business analyst at Jaguar Land Rover Image: Luke Maxwell
Nicole Finucane, a business analyst at Jaguar Land Rover. Image: Luke Maxwell

Who will be the Henry Ford of the autonomous vehicles industry?

2 Aug 2018

Every car company is vying for dominance in the autonomous vehicles race. Jaguar Land Rover is throwing its hat into the ring.

When you think of the early days of the automobile industry, the name Henry Ford tends to spring to mind. His use of mass-production techniques allowed him to churn out cars with competitive price points. Doing this propelled him, and other American carmakers who emulated him, to international success.

Yet it was actually in Europe in the 19th centry that automobiles first were produced. So, evidently, having a head start doesn’t guarantee success, but innovation certainly does.

There’s a new revolution sweeping the transport sector, and it’s autonomous vehicles. It is a test of the mettle of every car company currently operating, including renowned legacy brands such as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

The company intends to become an international leader in autonomous driving software. The work being done at the JLR software development centre in Shannon is vital to realising this dream.

“We’re responsible for Level 4 software for automated driving and also for electrical vehicle architecture,” explained John Cormican, general manager of vehicle engineering at JLR in Shannon. “We’re at the leading edge of autonomous driving software development … our developers get a chance to develop software and actually integrate that on to vehicles.”

One of the elements of working at JLR that Cormican is most proud of is how much it differs to the cloistered screen-and-cubicle experience that many software developers have at work. “Here, it’s very much hands-on, practical realisation of their work in our vehicles.”

A software developer can quickly go from typing out lines of code to watching an automobile zoom by, guided by their technology.

“A lot of the projects we’re working on are new and very innovative,” added Nicole Finucane, a business analyst at JLR. “So, the culture in the office here in Shannon [is] very exciting all of the time.

“There’s a great enthusiasm and excitement within the team … Being kind of a young team here in Shannon, you see employees coming straight out of university or even changing careers from other industries.”

Gido van Wijk, a software engineer at JLR, was quick to chime in about how integral his experience at the company has been to his developement as an engineer. “I think, as a recent graduate, the most important thing right now is to get experience and work with software, work with the cars.

“That’s one thing that [JLR] helps a lot with … when I joined back in September, I was assigned a project straight away.”

Check out our full video interview above to learn more about the work being carried out at JLR in Shannon.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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