NFI Group Inc., and Robotic Research, LLC (Robotic Research) have signed an agreement to increase the deployment of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in transit agency fleets across North America.
The agreement expands the partnership between New Flyer of America Inc. (New Flyer) and Robotic Research originally announced in 2019, and builds on the unveiling of North America’s first automated transit bus, the Xcelsior AV™, to pursue integration of Robotic Research’s AutoDrive® technology into new and existing public transit vehicles.
The technology, which will incorporate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Standard J3016 capabilities up to Level 4, will add ADAS features to help prevent pedestrian and cyclist collisions. Ultimately, automated vehicles (AVs) will contribute to improving road safety and lending the potential to shorten commute times, increase energy efficiency and reduce congestion.
“For decades, NFI has been a global leader in mass mobility, and we continue to lead the industry in the evolution and deployment of EV and AV technology,” said Paul Soubry, president and CEO, NFI. “Through our four pillar approach to mobility solutions – including buses and coaches, infrastructure, connected technology and workforce development – we are enabling the new mobility era. Expanding our AV capabilities is a critical part of that vision and fits with our strategy to invest in high-growth areas.”
“Completing development of the first Xcelsior AV with Robotic Research demonstrates our continued leadership in innovation, and our commitment to developing and testing the best technology available,” added Chris Stoddart, president, North America Bus and Coach. “Our ADAS vision has always been to improve safety, efficiency, and accessibility through innovation, and, together with Robotic Research, we intend to expand AV capabilities across our full suite of public transit vehicles in North America.”
In addition to preventing collisions, Robotic Research’s AutoDrive® technology enables precision docking, enabling the bus to maneuver within inches of the level boarding platforms, increasing access for passengers with disabilities in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act rules. The technology can also enable leader-follower behavior, where multiple buses can be electronically linked together to help ease congestion at peak transit times.
“Our expanded partnership with NFI demonstrates a joint commitment to improving roadway safety by enabling technology to assist transit operators,” said Alberto Lacaze, president, Robotic Research. “The agreement will also help transit authorities save money by detecting and preventing accidents before they occur, which will address a major cost of insurance for transit agencies overall.”
The agreement marks NFI’s next stage of investment in ADAS technology, building on the completion of New Flyer’s Xcelsior AV™ unveiled in January 2021, New Flyer’s pilot project with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and New Flyer's launch of its Automated Technology Program first announced in May 2019.