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Adapt’s mission to empower tech users with an ethical approach to AI

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Sam Cox finds out how the Adapt research centre puts the human at the centre of future digital technologies.

The Adapt research centre for AI-driven digital content technology is led by Trinity College Dublin but spread across eight third-level institutions in total. It is one of five Science Foundation Ireland research centres to receive next-stage funding in 2021.

Part of Adapt researchers’ work is to show how they are achieving impact. To convey data and stories to the Government and the public that demonstrate they are ‘doing the right thing’ with public investment.

Adapt’s metrics to date are impressive. The number of researchers the centre supports is doubling, from 199 up to almost 400. For every €1 publicly invested in Adapt, more than €5 is leveraged back to the Irish economy. And its combined research publications exceed 1,700 articles.

All of this represents advancement in the digital technology industry and illustrates Ireland’s increasingly significant global position in the area of AI and digital content technology.

‘Adapt’s research spans an arc from AI and content technologies to the fundamental principles for society’

In its first phase, Adapt’s research focused on the digital technologies of the future. As these technologies become more and more seamless in our lives, we are examining how they are integrated into our world. But what does successful integration look like?

Adapt’s research will address these challenges under three areas, and the additional funding affords the team the opportunity to augment and expand its research expertise and talent reach across Europe.

Above all, human empowerment will be at the core of what their success means. Talking to centre director Prof Vincent Wade, he said Adapt is about making technology that “empowers us and does not make us feel slaves to the digital”. This might sound dramatic, but at the heart of their ethic is keeping the human in focus. As such, the first strand of Adapt’s research strategy focuses on digitally enhanced engagement.

Sustainable data use

Speaking about the evolution of Adapt into its second phase of funding, Wade stressed that their research is more interactive, and so much more fluid. “It is how to empower individuals to use this technology. How society can live in a digitally successful way. How to be protected in privacy and control, and to have the right governance in place to do this correctly. Adapt’s research spans this arc, from AI and content technologies to the fundamental principles for society.”

Wade emphasised the move towards systems only knowing what they need to know at the time they need to know it, and nothing else. He highlights that past perspectives often relied on collecting as much data as possible in order to personalise systems, but this no longer has to be the case.

Once the right information for the situation is in a program, superfluous data collection isn’t necessary and, in the interest of personal data rights, shouldn’t be collected. Increasing use of synthetic or generative data reduces privacy issues even further. Reducing the carbon footprint of the models is another benefit of this approach, as less data needs to be stored and processed. Sustainable data use and privacy-preserving models is the future, marking a move away from service providers who may be in the market of selling data.

Wade’s own area of research involves personalisation and adapting these technologies to the user. His three main metrics of success in this area are effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction. Effectiveness means that if you were trying to learn something online, at the end you feel you can solve the problem. Efficiency asks whether you were able to learn that concept faster than if you had just taken the general course. And user satisfaction is all about feeling supported and more confident. Did you feel in control? Did you feel that was helpful?

Poor personalisation in the past has been about prior experience. Wade explains that if the system knew you liked steak, then it would recommend more meat dinners. The more you like something, the more the system recommends it. To be satisfying, it is essential to know how humans operate. Designing systems that understand what a person is looking for, and which can integrate seamlessly into devices to empower the individual, is a central aim.

Machine translation

Language, then, is a key area for Adapt. Researchers here seek to capture, communicate and translate language in a way that feels genuine for its users.

With language at the heart of most human interaction – and as more and more of the world fits into your pocket – machine translation is closing the gap in an increasingly global economy. Adapt is at the forefront of bridging these cultural gaps.

The centre’s second strand of research looks at digital content transformation, and enabling content to flow freely across different languages, cultures and modalities via machine translation. Deputy director Prof Andy Way leads this area. He talks about the progress within his field and the billions of words translated every day by Google. Translation on this scale involves the balance of speed and accuracy to function effectively in the real world.

‘Adapt set up eight machine translation systems to support the sharing of all information that was known about Covid-19 in its early days’

This was no clearer than in Adapt’s rapid response to Covid-19. As with many researchers across the world, they contributed to helping where possible during the pandemic. Adapt set up eight machine translation systems to cross the language barrier and support the sharing of all information that was known about the virus in its early days.

Machine translation technologies often see only incremental improvements in accuracy and speed, with the effect of these changes perhaps not even registering with users. What does a 1pc increase in accuracy over the system six months ago actually mean on an individual basis? The priority, Way explained, isn’t necessarily how much better the translations are, but how much better users feel when seeing them. This is especially the case in the work of professional translators.

The user interface, the accessibility, the manner in which it empowers its translators – all of these are the metrics that are essential to the design. Up to now, empirical evidence measured fewer keystrokes, fewer edits required, and the reduction in the length of time spent editing, but these fail to assess the cognitive load on human translators. If a document took 45 minutes to translate rather than an hour, how did the translator perceive that time frame, and what did their interactions with the technology entail?

Augmenting the human experience to help translators do their work more quickly, rather than replacing workers with artificial intelligence trained on huge data sets, allows people to increase their free time. You can do the same work but more efficiently.

Real communication in a virtual world

If you think the complexity of spoken word can confuse a system, try introducing tone and body language. This is the work of Prof Naomi Harte who is heading up the digital content transformation strand at Adapt.

Speaking of Zoom video interaction, Harte said: “I’m interested in turn-taking. You speak, I speak, you speak. Human conversation doesn’t work like that – we overlap all the time. You send me little signals: ‘You can keep talking because I’m listening’. And then you send signals that I might need to stop because you want to take a go. And then I’ve worked out what I’m going to say before you’re finished.”

Speech, Harte pointed out, is multimodal. Think back to any conversation in a loud pub. While you’re looking at your friend speak, you can understand what they’re saying. If someone gets in the way, they become unintelligible. Often, unbeknownst to you, you have started to lip-read and integrate that information into your understanding. Head nods, facial expressions and hand gestures all feed into our communication processes.

‘I can read psychology literature but that’s no replacement for someone with that deep understanding that complements what I do’

Now, more than ever, many of us may have become acutely aware of this through our collective Zoom fatigue. Without our usual multimodal cues, it has become increasingly exhausting to communicate over the web.

“It’s the online equivalent of when you’re on a footpath and you don’t know whether to go left or right. Natural communication is challenging online. It’s great in one way – you still see people and engage with them – but there are a lot of complexities there,” said Harte.

Understanding these complexities and integrating their solutions into our technologies requires a multidisciplinary approach. “That’s one of the beauties of Adapt,” said Harte. “I can interact with people who have stronger knowledge in that area. I’m the engineer, at the end of the day, and I can read psychology literature but that’s no replacement for someone with that deep understanding that complements what I do. That’s the power of a centre like this.”

The answer to these complexities isn’t just more data. While many companies may boast about 98pc accuracy, or the ability to have better systems than their competitors, Harte’s work entails looking at the last 2pc. Those who are forgotten by the mainstream consumer.

“We look at niche groups, such as ageing speakers. Children’s speech is also very challenging. As a human, I don’t need to turn a knob in my brain to understand a strong accent, or someone who uses grammar incorrectly. Bad grammar turns a speech recognition system on its knees, whereas humans can still understand,” Harte explained.

Her team’s work in Adapt going forward is about addressing language with the least amount of data. This allows the technology to be applied across the board: to languages that are dying out, languages where use varies from its dictionary definition, or any communication with fewer speakers. Adaptive signal processing is central to Harte’s research and involves understanding the underlying commonalities of a signal and adapting to recognise them. Success isn’t just empowerment for the majority but considering the often-overlooked and making sure no one is left behind.

AI and society

When designing technologies for all of society, the bigger questions inherently branch into ethics. Within the centre, PhDs have included expertise in areas as diverse as religion, business, law and sociology. This is to be the focus of the third research strand.

Prof Dave Lewis says that these questions were present in the earlier iterations of Adapt but today, as we prepare for the societal transformations of a digitally mediated world post-Covid-19, this has become an increasing focus. And it’s not just because of obligations such as GDPR. It is the pressing need to anticipate the future implications of AI on society and related data governance obligations that merits this increase. No one currently has the answer.

What are the rules that organisations should have and should be conforming to as AI is rolled out with increasing frequency? The debate happens at multiple levels, and important questions have to be asked. Can businesses be trusted to implement these solutions, or do they need to happen at a governmental level? Are international bodies such as the European Union the solution instead?

Just as there are international recommendations concerning human rights or environmental practices, Lewis thinks that privacy, ethics and governance need to be considered at a global level. Some of these solutions are technical. One example is a consent receipt: a web cookie that contains the details of what you have signed (or signed away) when you hurriedly click ‘I agree’ on a webpage, and provides some user protection.

Other examples are more fundamental. Issues such as trustworthy AI and AI terminology: “Does everyone mean the same thing when they say AI? We’re now at the stage where we’re getting noticed at an international level and getting ratified. We’re providing and contributing to these technical standards, and we’re convening a lot of these [international] working groups,” said Lewis.

For Lewis and Adapt, it’s important to capture the range of the experiences that are affecting all levels of society. At the academic level, discussions and debates around best practice, where advice is also shared, are commonplace. But he also stressed that science that engages the public is crucial to a centre like Adapt.

Adapt has a Citizens’ Think-Ins programme designed to engage with the public and different communities to find out what they think. This has been made considerably more difficult since Covid-19 but capturing both sides of the coin is essential, as is ongoing engagement: being both transparent and accountable. It’s not enough to ask groups what they think, Lewis highlights. It is essential to feed this information back into the research.

With smart technology now ubiquitous, empowerment must be on the user’s terms. In delivering this, Adapt’s vision is for a technological world that is transparent, user-friendly, and ethical.

By Sam Cox

Sam Cox was named the science and technology winner in the 2020 National Student Media Awards (Smedias). This award category is sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland and includes a €1,000 bursary to support and encourage up-and-coming science and technology journalism.

The 2021 Smedias are now open for entries. The deadline for applications is 15 April 2021.

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Is your smartphone ruining your memory? A special report on the rise of ‘digital amnesia’ | Memory

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Last week, I missed a real-life meeting because I hadn’t set a reminder on my smartphone, leaving someone I’d never met before alone in a café. But on the same day, I remembered the name of the actor who played Will Smith’s aunt in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1991 (Janet Hubert). Memory is weird, unpredictable and, neuroscientifically, not yet entirely understood. When memory lapses like mine happen (which they do, a lot), it feels both easy and logical to blame the technology we’ve so recently adopted. Does having more memory in our pockets mean there’s less in our heads? Am I losing my ability to remember things – from appointments to what I was about to do next – because I expect my phone to do it for me? Before smartphones, our heads would have held a cache of phone numbers and our memories would contain a cognitive map, built up over time, which would allow us to navigate – for smartphone users, that is no longer true.

Our brains and our smartphones form a complex web of interactions: the smartphonification of life has been rising since the mid 2000s, but was accelerated by the pandemic, as was internet use in general. Prolonged periods of stress, isolation and exhaustion – common themes since March 2020 – are well known for their impact on memory. Of those surveyed by memory researcher Catherine Loveday in 2021, 80% felt that their memories were worse than before the pandemic. We are – still – shattered, not just by Covid-19, but also by the miserable national and global news cycle. Many of us self-soothe with distractions like social media. Meanwhile, endless scrolling can, at times, create its own distress, and phone notifications and self interrupting to check for them, also seem to affect what, how and if we remember.

So what happens when we outsource part of our memory to an external device? Does it enable us to squeeze more and more out of life, because we aren’t as reliant on our fallible brains to cue things up for us? Are we so reliant on smartphones that they will ultimately change how our memories work (sometimes called digital amnesia)? Or do we just occasionally miss stuff when we don’t remember the reminders?

Neuroscientists are divided. Chris Bird is professor of cognitive neuroscience in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex and runs research by the Episodic Memory Group. “We have always offloaded things into external devices, like writing down notes, and that’s enabled us to have more complex lives,” he says. “I don’t have a problem with using external devices to augment our thought processes or memory processes. We’re doing it more, but that frees up time to concentrate, focus on and remember other things.” He thinks that the kind of things we use our phones to remember are, for most human brains, difficult to remember. “I take a photo of my parking ticket so I know when it runs out, because it’s an arbitrary thing to remember. Our brains aren’t evolved to remember highly specific, one-off things. Before we had devices, you would have to make a quite an effort to remember the time you needed to be back at your car.”

Professor Oliver Hardt, who studies the neurobiology of memory and forgetting at McGill University in Montreal, is much more cautious. “Once you stop using your memory it will get worse, which makes you use your devices even more,” he says. “We use them for everything. If you go to a website for a recipe, you press a button and it sends the ingredient list to your smartphone. It’s very convenient, but convenience has a price. It’s good for you to do certain things in your head.”

Hardt is not keen on our reliance on GPS. “We can predict that prolonged use of GPS likely will reduce grey matter density in the hippocampus. Reduced grey matter density in this brain area goes along with a variety of symptoms, such as increased risk for depression and other psychopathologies, but also certain forms of dementia. GPS-based navigational systems don’t require you to form a complex geographic map. Instead, they just tell you orientations, like ‘Turn left at next light.’ These are very simple behavioural responses (here: turn left) at a certain stimulus (here: traffic light). These kinds of spatial behaviours do not engage the hippocampus very much, unlike those spatial strategies that require the knowledge of a geographic map, in which you can locate any point, coming from any direction and which requires [cognitively] complex computations. When exploring the spatial capacities of people who have been using GPS for a very long time, they show impairments in spatial memory abilities that require the hippocampus. Map reading is hard and that’s why we give it away to devices so easily. But hard things are good for you, because they engage cognitive processes and brain structures that have other effects on your general cognitive functioning.”

Hardt doesn’t have data yet, but believes, “the cost of this might be an enormous increase in dementia. The less you use that mind of yours, the less you use the systems that are responsible for complicated things like episodic memories, or cognitive flexibility, the more likely it is to develop dementia. There are studies showing that, for example, it is really hard to get dementia when you are a university professor, and the reason is not that these people are smarter – it’s that until old age, they are habitually engaged in tasks that are very mentally demanding.” (Other scientists disagree – Daniel Schacter, a Harvard psychologist who wrote the seminal Seven Sins Of Memory: How The Mind Forgets and Remembers, thinks effects from things like GPS are “task specific”, only.)

While smartphones can obviously open up whole new vistas of knowledge, they can also drag us away from the present moment, like it’s a beautiful day, unexperienced because you’re head down, WhatsApping a meal or a conversation. When we’re not attending to an experience, we are less likely to recall it properly, and fewer recalled experiences could even limit our capacity to have new ideas and being creative. As the renowned neuroscientist and memory researcher Wendy Suzuki recently put it on the Huberman Lab neuroscience podcast, “If we can’t remember what we’ve done, the information we’ve learned and the events of our lives, it changes us… [The part of the brain which remembers] really defines our personal histories. It defines who we are.”

Catherine Price, science writer and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone, concurs. “What we pay attention to in the moment adds up to our life,” she says. “Our brains cannot multitask. We think we can. But any moment where multitasking seems successful, it’s because one of those tasks was not cognitively demanding, like you can fold laundry and listen to the radio. If you’re paying attention to your phone, you’re not paying attention to anything else. That might seem like a throwaway observation, but it’s actually deeply profound. Because you will only remember the things you pay attention to. If you’re not paying attention, you’re literally not going to have a memory of it to remember.”

The Cambridge neuroscientist Barbara Sahakian has evidence of this, too. “In an experiment in 2010, three different groups had to complete a reading task,” she says. “One group got instant messaging before it started, one got instant messaging during the task, and one got no instant messaging, and then there was a comprehension test. What they found was that the people getting instant messages couldn’t remember what they just read.”

Price is much more worried about what being perpetually distracted by our phones – termed “continual partial attention” by the tech expert Linda Stone – does to our memories than using their simpler functions. “I’m not getting distracted by my address book,” she says. And she doesn’t believe smartphones free us up to do more. “Let’s be real with ourselves: how many of us are using the time afforded us by our banking app to write poetry? We just passively consume crap on Instagram.” Price is from Philadelphia. “What would have happened if Benjamin Franklin had had Twitter? Would he have been on Twitter all the time? Would he have made his inventions and breakthroughs?

“I became really interested in whether the constant distractions caused by our devices might be impacting our ability to actually not just accumulate memories to begin with, but transfer them into long-term storage in a way that might impede our ability to think deep and interesting thoughts,” she says. “One of the things that impedes our brain’s ability to transfer memories from short- to long-term storage is distraction. If you get distracted in the middle of it” – by a notification, or by the overwhelming urge to pick up your phone – “you’re not actually going to have the physical changes take place that are required to store that memory.”

It’s impossible to know for sure, because no one measured our level of intellectual creativity before smartphones took off, but Price thinks smartphone over-use could be harming our ability to be insightful. “An insight is being able to connect two disparate things in your mind. But in order to have an insight and be creative, you have to have a lot of raw material in your brain, like you couldn’t cook a recipe if you didn’t have any ingredients: you can’t have an insight if you don’t have the material in your brain, which really is long term memories.” (Her theory was backed by the 92-year-old Nobel prize-winning neuroscientist and biochemist Eric Kandel, who has studied how distraction affects memory – Price bumped into him on a train and grilled him about her idea. “I’ve got a selfie of me with a giant grin and Eric looking a bit confused.”) Psychologist professor Larry Rosen, co-author (with neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley) of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, also agrees: “Constant distractions make it difficult to encode information in memory.”

Smartphones are, of course, made to hijack our attention. “The apps that make money by taking our attention are designed to interrupt us,” says Price. “I think of notifications as interruptions because that’s what they’re doing.”

For Oliver Hardt, phones exploit our biology. “A human is a very vulnerable animal and the only reason we are not extinct is that we have a superior brain: to avoid predation and find food, we have had to be really good at being attentive to our environment. Our attention can shift rapidly around and when it does, everything else that was being attended to stops, which is why we can’t multitask. When we focus on something, it’s a survival mechanism: you’re in the savannah or the jungle and you hear a branch cracking, you give your total attention to that – which is useful, it causes a short stress reaction, a slight arousal, and activates the sympathetic nervous system. It optimises your cognitive abilities and sets the body up for fighting or flighting.” But it’s much less useful now. “Now, 30,000 years later, we’re here with that exact brain” and every phone notification we hear is a twig snapping in the forest, “simulating what was important to what we were: a frightened little animal.”

Smartphone use can even change the brain, according to the ongoing ABCD study which is tracking over 10,000 American children through to adulthood. “It started by examining 10-year-olds both with paper and pencil measures and an MRI, and one of their most interesting early results was that there was a relationship between tech use and cortical thinning,” says Larry Rosen, who studies social media, technology and the brain. “Young children who use more tech had a thinner cortex, which is supposed to happen at an older age.” Cortical thinning is a normal part of growing up and then ageing, and in much later life can be associated with degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as migraines.

Obviously, the smartphone genie is out of the bottle and has run over the hills and far away. We need our smartphones to access offices, attend events, pay for travel and to function as tickets, passes and credit cards, as well as for emails, calls and messages. It’s very hard not to have one. If we’re worried about what they – or the apps on them – might be doing to our memories, what should we do?

Rosen discusses a number of tactics in his book. “My favourites are tech breaks,” he says, “where you start by doing whatever on your devices for one minute and then set an alarm for 15 minutes time. Silence your phone and place it upside down, but within your view as a stimulus to tell your brain that you will have another one-minute tech break after the 15-minute alarm. Continue until you adapt to 15 minutes focus time and then increase to 20. If you can get to 60 minutes of focus time with short tech breaks before and after, that’s a success.”

“If you think your memory and focus have got worse and you’re blaming things like your age, your job, or your kids, that might be true, but it’s also very likely due to the way you’re interacting with your devices,” says Price, who founded Screen/Life Balance to help people manage their phone use. As a science writer, she’s “very much into randomly controlled trials, but with phones, it’s actually more of a qualitative question about personally how it’s impacting you. And it’s really easy to do your own experiment and see if it makes a difference. It’s great to have scientific evidence. But we can also intuitively know: if you practice keeping your phone away more and you notice that you feel calmer and you’re remembering more, then you’ve answered your own question.”

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China rallies support for Kylin Linux in war on Windows • The Register

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China’s efforts to end its reliance on Microsoft Windows got a boost with the launch of the openKylin project.

The initiative aims to accelerate development of the country’s home-grown Kylin Linux distro by opening the project up to a broader community of developers, colleges, and universities to contribute code.

Launched in 2001, Kylin was based on a FreeBSD kernel and was intended for use in government and military offices, where Chinese authorities have repeatedly attempted to eliminate foreign operating systems.

In 2010, the operating system made the switch to the Linux kernel, and in 2014 an Ubuntu-based version of the OS was introduced after Canonical reached an agreement with Chinese authorities to develop the software.

The openKylin project appears to be the latest phase of that project, and is focused on version planning, platform development, and establishing a community charter. To date, the project has garnered support from nearly two dozen Chinese firms and institutions, including China’s Advanced Operating System Innovation Center.

These industry partners will contribute to several special interest groups to improve various aspects of the operating system over time. Examples include optimizations for the latest generation of Intel and AMD processors, where available; support for emerging RISC-V CPUs; development of an x86-to-RISC-V translation layer; and improvements to the Ubuntu Kylin User Interface (UKUI) window manager for tablet and convertible devices.

China’s love-hate relationship with Microsoft

China’s efforts to rid itself of Redmond are by no means new. As far back as 2000, Chinese authorities ordered government offices to remove Windows in favor of Red Flag Linux.

However, in the case of Red Flag Linux, those efforts ultimately went nowhere after the project failed to catch on. The org was ultimately dissolved, and the team terminated in 2014. Despite its collapse, the project appears to have been rebooted, with a release slated to launch later this year.

This is a story that would repeat on a regular cadence, fueled by periodic spats between Uncle Sam and software vendors.

It’s safe to say the Chinese government has something of a love-hate relationship with Redmond. In 2013, Chinese authorities urged Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP, on which the country still relied heavily.

However, a year later, the Chinese government banned Windows 8 in much of the public sector, just months after Microsoft ended support for Windows XP.

Today, Microsoft controls roughly 85 percent of the desktop operating system market as of June 2022, according to Statcounter.

Some of this can be attributed to the launch of Windows 10 China Government Edition in 2017, which was developed in collaboration with the China Electronics Technology Group.

It doesn’t appear those efforts bought Microsoft’s American partners much in terms of goodwill, with Chinese authorities directing government agencies to throw out all foreign-made personal computers this spring. ®

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EU-backed project to trial uncrewed flight ecosystem in Shannon

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The Shannon-based project aims to integrate the operations of uncrewed and conventional aircraft to modernise air traffic management in Europe.

A European consortium based in Shannon has received EU funding to develop a flight ecosystem for drones and help integrate uncrewed aircraft into our airspace.

Coordinated by Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI), this consortium will conduct a three-year engineering project to develop, deploy and optimise this type of system in Europe.

Describing itself as Ireland’s “first testbed for future mobility”, FMCI is a development centre based in the Shannon Free Zone focused on innovation in both ground and air mobility tech.

Illustration of an unmanned vehicle testing site, with drones visible. A landing and take off zone is highlighted, along with a mobile operations unit where a van is parked. A small building is labelled as the AAM operations centre.

Illustration of the Advanced Aerial Mobility Hub at FMCI. Image: FMCI

FMCI said the research project, known as EALU-AER, represents a “major vote of confidence” in Ireland’s local expertise, industry operators and the resourcing of air mobility development.

Other members of the consortium include Shannon Group, the Irish Aviation Authority, Collins Aerospace, Dublin-based Avtrain, and Deep Blue in Italy.

The consortium has received the three-year funding award to develop uncrewed aviation business opportunities in Ireland, as part of a collaborative research project that could help modernise air traffic management in Europe.

The consortium said the new funding will help build an end-to-end ecosystem that supports the safe operation of uncrewed flights. The goal is to help integrate the operations of both uncrewed and conventional aircraft.

“This will result in developing and building out the critical infrastructure to allow advanced air mobility proliferate across Europe,” FMCI CEO Russell Vickers said.

“It will secure access to airspace for large numbers of drones and eVTOL [electric vertical take-off and landing] aircraft, resulting in safe, cost-effective and sustainable transport of freight and people in the future.”

The project’s work will be based at FMCI’s Advanced Aerial Mobility Research Test and Development Facilities in Shannon, but will include a network of Advanced Air Mobility routes across Ireland.

FMCI has already worked with Avtrain and Shannon Group to trial freight delivery services using beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drones.

“We are entering a new era of innovation where the success of the industry will depend on the integration of uncrewed aircraft into our airspace, rather than the segregation of airspace,” Avtrain CEO Julie Garland said.

Funding for the project came from the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking, which is partnership of private and public sector entities in the EU that aim to accelerate the delivery of the Digital European Sky through research and innovation.

It comes as people are increasingly looking at the potential of drones and uncrewed flight technology. A Dublin City Council initiative recently looked to show how local government can utilise drones in areas such as civil defence, emergency response, public safety and environmental monitoring.

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