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New Flyer launches program focused on self-driven buses

ST. CLOUD — New Flyer of America Inc. announced Monday the launch of a program aimed at possibly creating self-driven buses.

In a news release, New Flyer and New Flyer Industries Canada announced the launch of their Autonomous Technology Program, which includes development and deployment of technology for Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems and Automated Vehicles.

The largest bus manufacturer in North America said the program will have a guiding principle focused on public safety and will adhere to the Society of Automotive Engineers’ definition and recommended practice for Levels of Driving Automation.

Those levels can range 0, where the operator has full control, to 5, where automation would drive the vehicle under all conditions. New Flyer will actively participate in development of SAE related recommended practices and standards.

“New Flyer is incredibly proud to make this step toward automation of transit buses,” New Flyer President Chris Stoddart said in the release. “Transit agencies across North America have been asking for progressive technology, regulators have shown commitment and support to technology advancement, and passenger confidence has been increasing as they experience autonomous technology firsthand. Now is the time to continue leading our industry with innovative firsts, just as we have for the past nine decades. We look forward to driving our technology roadmap forward over the coming year.”

New Flyer of America, the transit bus division of NFI Group Inc., employs more than 800 people at its St. Cloud headquarters and has three additional manufacturing facilities in Crookston; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Anniston, Alabama.

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