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Munich Re America launches transit bus collision avoidance pilot in Washington with Mobileye Shield+ system

Munich Reinsurance America, one of the largest reinsurers in the US, in collaboration with the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP), has launched a pilot program equipping transit buses with the award-winning collision avoidance system Mobileye Shield+. Rosco Vision Systems is the official North American provider and driver-interface manufacturer of this system.

Mobileye is a technology leader in the area of software algorithms, system-on-chips and customer applications that are based on processing visual information for the market of driver assistance systems (DAS). Shield+, designed for large vehicles operating in urban environments, enables early detection of cyclists and pedestrians by using an array of strategically placed artificial vision smart cameras.

Shield+ continuously monitors blind spots and provides real-time visual audible and vibration alerts whenever pedestrians or cyclists are in the danger zone. Shield+ ignores inanimate objects and pedestrians in safe zones, reducing false alerts.

The system is also connected to a telematics system recording the location of alerts, thereby providing decision-makers with real-time data on infrastructure deficiencies.

For the pilot, 38 WSTIP transit buses have been equipped with Mobileye’s Shield+ technology. The advanced driver assistance technology empowers drivers to avoid and mitigate imminent collisions, protecting the most vulnerable and difficult to observe road users: cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.

This proactive approach to retrofitting current bus fleets will allow transit agencies to improve safety and reduce losses in the near term, rather than waiting for collision avoidance equipment to become standard on new buses which could take 12 - 18 years based on the minimum expected life of a transit bus.

—Brian Viscusi, Senior Vice President, Alternative Markets, Munich Reinsurance America

According to the most recent data from the National Transit Database, bus transit agencies nationwide reported 3,260 collisions, almost 13,000 injuries and 92 fatalities annually, costing more than US$438 million in casualty and liability expenses. While the National Transit Database reports a decline in the number of injuries from 2002-2011, severity continues to be an issue as demonstrated by the average 2.8% increase in casualty and liability expenses each year.

Jerry Spears, Deputy Director of WSTIP, notes approximately 90% of their large collision-related transit losses (>$100,000) are forward motion collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.

The purpose of this safety pilot is to utilize innovative technology to prevent these collisions from occurring in the first place, thereby avoiding the devastating consequences these incidents can have on the injured parties and on the drivers.

—Jerry Spears

Supported by an IDEA grant from the Transportation Research Board at the National Academies of Science, transportation experts at the University of Washington STAR Labs will analyze both quantitative and qualitative pilot data collected from multiple sources including video, telematics, and transit operator surveys.

We anticipate the long-term benefits of projects such as these to be significant, with a primary goal of reducing the number of fatalities and injuries. On an economic scale, an improved safety record for transit agencies would ultimately translate into reduced losses for the transit agency as well as their insurer.

—Mike Scrudato, Senior Vice President, New Strategic Markets, and leader of the Mobility Domain at Munich Reinsurance America


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