ST. CLOUD, MN—New Flyer of America Inc. has unveiled an automated transit bus called the Xcelsior AV. It features an electric propulsion system integrated with advanced driver-assistance systems technology to meet the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Standard J3016 Level 4.

“Our [bus] represents the anticipated future of safety in public transit,” says Chris Stoddart, president of New Flyer. “The technology is real and it’s here. In the future, we expect fleets of automated buses to improve road safety, 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 Xcelsior AV to enable meaningful improvements in the public transit user experience, which will hopefully lead to increased ridership,” explains Stoddart.

To develop the bus, New Flyer engineers worked closely with Robotic Research LLC.

“Autonomous technology is not only expected to increase the safety of transit, but is also anticipated to increase the throughput and utilization of vehicles,” says Alberto Lacaze, president of Robotic Research. “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 [system],” adds Lacaze. “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 [system].”

Robotic Research provided key technology for the Xcelsior AV, including AutoDrive. “It serves as the ‘eyes and brain’ of the autonomous system, processing the world surrounding the bus, including mapping the environment, making decisions and navigating the route,” explains Lacaze. “[Our] AutoDrive ByWire system serves as the ‘hands and feet’ of the automated system, controlling the steering, braking and throttle.”