New Flyer, North America, the largest American bus manufacturer also leads the industry in zero-emission electric buses. As electric cars continue to develop towards full autonomy, New Flyer is also investing in self-driving, connected and zero-emissions technologies for buses.
- New Flyer developing autonomous bus technology with Robotic Research.
- The Excelsior Charge electric bus will be outfitted with Level 4 autonomy.
- By making mass transit more inviting, more people might choose this form of transportation rather than a car.
In 2017, New Flyer opened the first-ever Vehicle Innovation Center for the advancement of bus and coach technology. Taking a collaborative approach, it has brought together over 1,500 people in the industry to promote education and workforce development.
To further advance driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in heavy-duty transit buses, New Flyer entered into an exclusive partnership with Robotic Research. It conducted two years of due diligence, researching several companies before landing on Robotic Research. Robotic Research stood out from the pack because of its proven artificial intelligence-based technology and success delivering Level 5 autonomous applications to the defense and intelligence community, including the U.S. Department of Defense.
Specifically, New Flyer and Robotic Research are looking to outfit the existing Xcelsior Charge electric bus with Society of Automotive Engineers (“SAE”) Standard J3016 Level 4 ADAS technology. Let’s put that into simpler terms: that standard translates to a high automation, where the vehicle pilots itself autonomously while actively monitoring the driving environment.
Through its partnership with Robotic Research, New Flyer has aligned with the Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”) Strategic Transit Automation Research Plan to assess potential risks, barriers and mitigation strategies associated with the implementation of automation technologies in transit buses.
New Flyer even had the honor of being invited by U.S. Secretary of Transportation (“USDOT”) Elaine Chao to participate alongside transportation industry leaders in critical discussions regarding automation adoption and workforce development, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Mass transit to move people is even better for the environment than autonomous electric vehicles. It can reduce emissions and traffic and make taking public transportation a more appealing option.