New Flyer of America Inc. and New Flyer Industries Canada ULC (collectively “New Flyer”), subsidiaries of NFI Group Inc. (“NFI”), the largest bus manufacturer in North America, today announced the launch of their Autonomous Technology Program. This program includes development and deployment of technology for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (“ADAS”) and Automated Vehicles (“AV”), with a guiding principle focused on public safety.
To ensure safe interaction among transit operators, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and interaction of buses, New Flyer will leverage the internet of things (an extension of internet connectivity to physical devices and everyday objects) to build connectivity in sharing public roadways. Secondary benefits of New Flyer’s Autonomous Technology Program include operational efficiency, productivity, and energy reduction.
“New Flyer is incredibly proud to make this step toward automation of transit buses,” said Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer. “Transit agencies across North America have been asking for progressive technology, regulators have shown commitment and support to technology advancement, and passenger confidence has been increasing as they experience autonomous technology firsthand. Now is the time to continue leading our industry with innovative firsts, just as we have for the past nine decades. We look forward to driving our technology roadmap forward over the coming year.”
The Autonomous Vehicle Technology Program will leverage, collaborate, and align with key public and private organizations, with commitments including:
- Support of and adherence to the Society of Automotive Engineers (“SAE”) J3016 definition and recommended practice for Levels of Driving Automation, ranging from Level 0 where the operator has full control, to Level 5 where automation would drive the vehicle under all conditions. New Flyer will actively participate in development of SAE related recommended practices and standards.
- Support of the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) automation principles, including prioritization of safety, employment, and workforce development needs as defined in USDOT’s Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 report.
- Support of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) Vision for Safety, which is actively exploring opportunities to advance the lifesaving potential of AV technologies. NHTSA’s Vision for Safety report outlines the safe deployment of ADAS technologies.
- Support to and support from the Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”) Strategic Transit Automation Research (“STAR”) Plan, established as a research and demonstration framework to move the transit industry forward by leveraging core strengths of academia and the public and private sectors for automotive vehicle research, integrated demonstrations, and strategic partnerships. New Flyer will actively seek participation in STAR opportunities to achieve shared AV objectives.
- Active contribution to and support of the American Public Transportation Association (“APTA”) Connected and Automated Vehicle Committee, to pursue and further transit bus automation in a safe, efficient, and economically sound manner.
- Engagement with proven AV technology partners with core expertise in sensor, controller, and artificial intelligence experience. New Flyer will work to ensure integration of AV technology into its products is robust, reliable, and based on ergonomic standards for optimum driver awareness and interaction as needed.
Vehicle-to-Infrastructure technology, often referred to as “V2I”, will be required for smart mobility development, with infrastructure as a critical element to successful deployment of AV transit buses. New Flyer will continue to engage smart city, transportation technology, and infrastructure stakeholders to align with, support, and further its technology roadmap to complement industry efforts. New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions™ will support these efforts with development and deployment of smart charging solutions. Through the Vehicle Innovation Center, North America’s first and only innovation lab dedicated to the advancement of bus and coach technology, New Flyer will also foster industry collaboration and support workforce development through delivery of hands-on, educational programming related to the safe deployment of ADAS and AV technology.