New Flyer Unveils the Xcelsior AV™ – North America’s First Automated Transit Bus
New Flyer of America Inc., a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., one of the world’s leading independent global bus manufacturers, has unveiled its Xcelsior AV™ automated transit bus, now in motion at Robotic Research, LLC in Maryland.
The Xcelsior AV™ unveiling follows New Flyer’s launch of its Automated Technology Program first announced in May 2019, and the subsequent announcement of partnership with artificial intelligence and automation leader Robotic Research also announced in May 2019.
New Flyer and Robotic Research developed the Xcelsior AV™ – North America’s first fully operational heavy-duty automated transit bus – to harness the zero-emission power of New Flyer’s Xcelsior CHARGE™ battery-electric propulsion while integrating advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) technology to meet Society of Automotive Engineers Standard J3016 Level 4 technology with the automated vehicle.
“Our Xcelsior AV represents the anticipated future of safety in public transit and the latest leap forward for New Flyer. We committed to building an automated transit bus and within five years, we’ve delivered an industry-changing vehicle. The technology is real and it’s here. In the future, we expect fleets of automated buses to improve road safety and with the potential to shorten commute times, increase energy efficiency, and reduce congestion. As standards and regulations are developed and implemented and automated buses are deployed across North America, we expect our Xcelsior AV to enable meaningful improvements in the public transit user experience, which will hopefully lead to increased ridership. Together with Robotic Research, we are leading clean, accessible, reliable mobility that’s safer for all.”
Robotic Research is a privately held, U.S.-based innovative engineering and technology company providing software, robotic technology, and automated solutions to commercial and government customers. Its testing facilities are located in Gaithersburg and Clarksburg, Maryland.
“Autonomous technology is not only expected to increase the safety of transit, but is also anticipated to increase the throughput and utilization of vehicles. Automated buses have the potential to improve traffic patterns and reduce stop-and-go traffic, benefiting not only the users of mass transportation, but the whole infrastructure. New Flyer just introduced the missing piece of a fully integrated, smart transportation solution. This vehicle unlocks a new era of Transportation as a Service, leveraging technological advancements across industries to create a safer, cleaner, more efficient, and more accessible transportation solution for the public.”
Xcelsior AV™ capabilities are made possible by two primary technologies. The first is AutoDrive®, Robotic Research’s self-driving technology, serving as the “eyes and brain” of the autonomous system and processing the world surrounding the bus, including mapping the environment, making decisions, and navigating the route. The second is Robotic Research’s AutoDrive ByWire™, serving as the “hands and feet” of the automated system and controlling the steering, braking, and throttle, ultimately operating bus movement on its route. This AV technology delivers several capabilities that are expected to be leveraged in making the mobility experience safer. These system capabilities include:
The Xcelsior AV™ furthers 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. In 2020, New Flyer announced North America’s first deployment of automated transit buses into revenue service, in a pilot project with the Connecticut Department of Transportation funded by the FTA’s Integrated Mobility Innovation initiative, supporting projects demonstrating innovative and effective practices to enhance public transportation effectiveness, efficiency, quality, safety, and transit rider experience.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AVs offer fourfold potential benefits:
New Flyer has been leading innovation in mobility for 90 years, and today 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, now available online.
This article was originally published by New Flyer.
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