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NFI and Robotic Research to bring automated driving technology to North American transit agencies

NFI Group, a leading independent bus and coach manufacturer and a leader in mobility solutions, announced an agreement with Robotic Research, LLC to increase the deployment of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in transit agency fleets across North America.

The agreement expands the partnership between New Flyer of America, an NFI subsidiary, and Robotic Research originally announced in 2019, and builds on the unveiling of North America’s first automated transit bus, the Xcelsior AV, to pursue integration of Robotic Research’s AutoDrive technology into new and existing public transit vehicles.

The technology, which will incorporate SAE J3016 capabilities up to Level 4, will add ADAS features to help prevent pedestrian and cyclist collisions. Ultimately, automated vehicles (AVs) will contribute to improving road safety and lending the potential to shorten commute times, increase energy efficiency, and reduce congestion.

In addition to preventing collisions, Robotic Research’s AutoDrive technology enables precision docking, enabling the bus to maneuver within inches of the level boarding platforms, increasing access for passengers with disabilities in accordance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules.

The technology can also enable “leader-follower” platooning behavior, where multiple buses can be electronically linked together to help ease congestion at peak transit times.

The agreement marks NFI’s next stage of investment in ADAS technology, building on the completion of New Flyer’s Xcelsior AV unveiled in January 2021, New Flyer’s pilot project with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (funded by the FTA’s Integrated Mobility Innovation initiative), and New Flyer’s launch of its Automated Technology Program first announced in May 2019.

Robotic Research specializes in autonomy and platooning solutions for commercial and defense customers.

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