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New Flyer, Robotic Research partner on autonomous bus technology for public transit

New Flyer of America Inc. is partnering 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 invested more than two years in assessing technology providers for autonomous vehicle development. New Flyer ultimately selected Robotic Research based on the company’s AI-based technology, coupled with its extensive experience delivering successful Level 5 autonomous vehicle applications for customers within the defense and intelligence community, including the US Department of Defense.

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.

—Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer

The partnership between New Flyer and Robotic Research will pursue development of an Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric bus equipped with SAE 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.

Robotic Research is a privately held, US-based 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.

In 2017, New Flyer opened its Vehicle Innovation Center, the first and only innovation lab of its kind in North America dedicated to the advancement of bus and coach technology. Since opening, the VIC has welcomed more than 1,500 attendees for industry-wide collaboration, education, and workforce development related to zero-emission, connected, and automated vehicle technologies.

With the announcement of its Robotic Research partnership, New Flyer further supports 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. This plan also adopts SAE J3016 levels and definitions.

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