New Flyer of America Inc. a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., recently announced an exclusive partnership with Robotic Research, LLC to advance autonomous bus technology through developing and deploying advanced driver- assistance systems (ADAS) in heavy-duty transit bus applications.
New Flyer, one of North America’s industry leaders in zero-emission electric bus deployments, invested over two years assessing world-leading technology providers for sophisticated autonomous vehicle development. New Flyer ultimately selected Robotic Research based on the company’s proven, industry-leading, artificial intelligence-based technology, coupled with its extensive experience delivering successful Level 5 autonomous vehicle applications for customers within the defense and intelligence community, including the U.S. Department of Defense.
“New Flyer has a proud history of leading innovation, industry firsts, and technology advancement in public transportation,” Chris Stoddart, president at New Flyer said. “Our ADAS vision supports the mobility needs of all Americans relying on public transit for safe and reliable transportation every day. Partnering with Robotic Research furthers our commitment to utilize the best expertise and technology available, while reaffirming our responsibility to work with regulators and stakeholders on standards and test protocols that integrate automated vehicles safely into the existing transportation system.”
The partnership between New Flyer and Robotic Research will pursue development of an Xcelsior CHARGE™ battery-electric bus equipped with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Standard J3016 Level 4 ADAS technology. SAE J3016 Level 4 is defined as high automation where the vehicle performs all driving tasks autonomously while actively monitoring the driving environment. The technology will be tested at Robotic Research facilities in late 2019, with closed course operation anticipated for 2020. To simulate realistic public transit applications, a trained onboard safety attendant will be utilized for evaluation and demonstration.
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with New Flyer to help usher in a new future for public transportation that offers greater safety for the public and reduced carbon emissions for our environment,” Edward Mottern, Vice President of Robotic Research said. “’New Flyer’s clear commitment to investing in both of these outcomes by harnessing the power of the latest technologies available, together with their leadership in public transportation, make them an outstanding partner of choice.”
Robotic Research is a privately held, U.S.-based innovative engineering and technology company providing software, robotic technology, and autonomous solutions to commercial and government customers. Its testing facilities are located in Gaithersburg and Clarksburg, Maryland.
“Over the past 24 months of working together, we have witnessed that New Flyer’s engineering processes, values and validation approach to technology is strongly aligned for a successful outcome,” Mottern said. “From the onset, both companies agreed safety and workforce training considerations would guide our collaborative development approach. The team is looking forward to demonstrating the technology in a multitude of pilot programs being funded around the US and other countries.”