New Flyer of America, Inc. (“New Flyer”), a subsidiary of NFI Group, Inc. (“NFI”), the largest bus manufacturer in North America, today announced a partnership with Robotic Research, LLC (“Robotic Research”) to advance autonomous bus technology through developing and deploying advanced driver-assistance systems (“ADAS”) in heavy-duty transit bus applications.
New Flyer, North America’s industry leader in zero-emission electric bus deployments, invested over two years assessing world-leading technology providers for sophisticated autonomous vehicle development. New Flyer ultimately selected Robotic Research based on the company’s proven, industry-leading, artificial intelligence-based technology, coupled with its extensive experience delivering successful Level 5 autonomous vehicle applications for customers within the defense and intelligence community, including the U.S. Department of Defense.
“New Flyer has a proud history of leading innovation, industry firsts, and technology advancement in public transportation,” said Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer. “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.”
The partnership between New Flyer and Robotic Research will pursue development of an Xcelsior CHARGE™ battery-electric bus equipped with Society of Automotive Engineers (“SAE”) Standard 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.
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with New Flyer to help usher in a new future for public transportation that offers greater safety for the public and reduced carbon emissions for our environment,” said Edward Mottern, Vice President of Robotic Research. “’New Flyer’s clear commitment to investing in both of these outcomes by harnessing the power of the latest technologies available, together with their leadership in public transportation, make them an outstanding partner of choice.”
Robotic Research is a privately held, U.S.-based innovative 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.
“Over the past 24 months of working together, we have witnessed that New Flyer’s engineering processes, values and validation approach to technology is strongly aligned for a successful outcome,” added Mottern. “From the onset, both companies agreed safety and workforce training considerations would guide our collaborative development approach. The team is looking forwards to demonstrating the technology in a multitude of pilot programs being funded around the US and other countries."
New Flyer’s significant investment in ADAS technology builds on a history marked with advancements transit innovation. 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 over 1,500 attendees through its doors 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.
In March 2019, New Flyer was invited by U.S. Secretary of Transportation (“USDOT”) Elaine Chao to participate alongside transportation industry leaders in critical discussions regarding automation adoption and workforce development, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
New Flyer remains focused on supporting industry dialogue, workforce development and advancement toward technology standards that deliver safe, clean, sustainable, connected mobility options to transit agencies, operators, passengers and communities across North America.
With over 6,300 team members, operating from 31 facilities across Canada and the United States, NFI (nfigroup.com) is North America’s largest bus manufacturer providing a comprehensive suite of mass transportation solutions under brands: New Flyer® (heavy-duty transit buses), ARBOC® (low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses), MCI® (motor coaches), and NFI Parts™ (parts, support, and service). NFI buses incorporate the widest range of drive systems available including: clean diesel, natural gas, diesel-electric hybrid, and zero-emission electric (trolley, battery, and fuel cell) on proven bus platforms. It also supports infrastructure development through New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions™, a service dedicated to providing safe and reliable charging and mobility solutions. In total, NFI supports over 74,000 buses and coaches currently in service across North America. For the fiscal year ended December 30, 2018, NFI posted revenues of US $2.5 billion. NFI common shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NFI.
About New Flyer
New Flyer (newflyer.com) is North America's heavy-duty transit bus leader and offers the most advanced product line under the Xcelsior® and Xcelsior CHARGE™ brands. It also offers infrastructure development through New Flyer Infrastructure Solutions™, a service dedicated to providing safe, sustainable, and reliable charging and mobility solutions. New Flyer actively supports over 41,000 heavy-duty transit buses (New Flyer, NABI, and Orion) currently in service, of which 7,300 are powered by electric motors and battery propulsion and 1,600 are zero-emission. Further information is available at newflyer.com.
About Robotic Research
Robotic Research, LLC (roboticresearch.com), is a leading provider of autonomy software and robotic technology and solutions driving the transformation of commercial and government autonomous operations through innovative and intelligent systems. Whether providing autonomous vehicles to the military to keep the warfighter safe; delivering unmanned, transformable robots to extend the reach of Special Forces units; or making commercial transportation safer and more efficient, Robotic Research is leading this dynamic revolution in technology.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements relating to expected future events and financial and operating results of the NFI that involve risks and uncertainties. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon what management believes to be reasonable assumptions, investors cannot be assured that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements, and the differences may be material. Actual results may differ materially from management expectations as projected in such forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons, including those risks and uncertainties discussed in the materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available on SEDAR at sedar.com. Due to the potential impact of these factors, NFI disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable law.
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Janet Hughes, Robotic Research