New Flyer of America (“New Flyer”), a subsidiary of NFI (“NFI”), one of the world’s independent global bus manufacturers, announced it will deploy North America’s first automated heavy-duty transit bus with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (“CTDOT”).
The automated driving demonstration project will include the deployment of three forty-foot battery-electric, Xcelsior CHARGE™ heavy-duty transit buses. The zero-emission deployment supports CTDOT’s demonstration project, funded by the Federal Transit Administration’s (“FTA”) Integrated Mobility Innovation (“IMI”) initiative, which supports projects demonstrating innovative and effective practices to enhance public transportation effectiveness, efficiency, quality, safety and transit rider experience.
This marks the first time an automated heavy-duty transit bus will be deployed in revenue service in North America. The project team is led by the CTDOT and consists of New Flyer, New Flyer’s technology partner Robotic Research, and the Center for Transportation and Environment (“CTE”), a nonprofit with extensive experience supporting FTA projects.
“This is an incredible moment for the advancement of automated technology in public transit, and for the continued development of safe, smart, sustainable, and connected mobility across North America,” said Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer. “For decades, New Flyer has led the public transit industry with innovative firsts. We are proud to work with CTDOT, Robotic Research, and CTE – not only in demonstrating mobility solutions for growing cities – but in showing the world that mitigating climate change, improving safety, and advancing technology can occur in harmony.”
The project is focused on the successful demonstration of automated technology on public roads, collection of relevant data to inform future policymaking, and advancement of Advanced Driving Assist System (ADAS) technology for enhanced safety. The zero-emission electric buses will demonstrate Society of Automotive Engineers (“SAE”) J3016 Level 4 technology with an on-board safety attendant to operate on the CTfastrak bus rapid transit corridor, a dedicated nine-mile-long facility for exclusive use by CTtransit buses.
New Flyer will integrate the Robotic Research automated driving technology into the Xcelsior CHARGE™ buses, CTE will serve as project manager and technical consultant for the program, and New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions™ will support the installation and integration of the electric bus charging equipment. Robotic Research will supply, configure, and support the automated driving systems integrated in the Xcelsior CHARGE™ buses.
The announcement follows New Flyer’s May 2019 launch of an Automated Technology Program and partnership with Maryland-based Robotic Research. For nearly 20 years, Robotic Research has been a team in autonomous system development and deployment.
New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions™ is dedicated to providing safe, reliable services for smart, sustainable mobility projects. Its full-suite services include support, planning, optimization, and transition to help ensure successful transition to battery-electric mobility, while working closely with firms including Siemens, ABB, ChargePoint, Burns & McDonnell and Black & Veatch.
New Flyer has been innovation in mobility for nearly 90 years, and supports growing North American cities with sustainable buses, technology, and infrastructure. It also operates the Vehicle Innovation Center, the first and only innovation lab of its kind dedicated to advancing bus technology and providing essential workforce development through electric bus training. New Flyer was the first bus manufacturer in the world to sign on to the Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities, and is developing automated bus technology to improve safety in public transit.
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