NFI and Robotic Research sign agreement to bring Automated Driving Systems to North American Transit Agencies
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — (TSX: NFI, OTC: NFYEF) NFI Group Inc. (“NFI” or the “Company”), a leading independent bus and coach manufacturer and a leader in mobility solutions, today announced an agreement with Robotic Research, LLC (“Robotic Research”) 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 Inc. (“New Flyer”, 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 Society of Automotive Engineers (“SAE”) Standard 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.
“For decades NFI has been a global leader in mass mobility, and we continue to lead the industry in the evolution and deployment of EV and AV technology,” said Paul Soubry, President and Chief Executive Officer, NFI. “Through our four pillar approach to mobility solutions – including buses and coaches, infrastructure, connected technology, and workforce development – we are enabling the new mobility era. Expanding our AV capabilities is a critical part of that vision and fits with our strategy to invest in high-growth areas.”
“Completing development of the first Xcelsior AV with Robotic Research demonstrates our continued leadership in innovation, and our commitment to developing and testing the best technology available,” said Chris Stoddart, President, North America Bus and Coach. “Our ADAS vision has always been to improve safety, efficiency, and accessibility through innovation, and, together with Robotic Research, we intend to expand AV capabilities across our full suite of public transit vehicles in North America.”
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” behavior, where multiple buses can be electronically linked together to help ease congestion at peak transit times.
“Our expanded partnership with NFI demonstrates a joint commitment to improving roadway safety by enabling technology to assist transit operators,” said Alberto Lacaze, President of Robotic Research. “The agreement will also help transit authorities save money by detecting and preventing accidents before they occur, which will address a major cost of insurance for transit agencies overall.”
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 history-making 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 is a U.S.-based, global leader in technology specializing in autonomy and platooning solutions for commercial and defense customers. Founded in 2002, the Company has been a trusted technology partner to the public and private sector for nearly twenty years, driven to make the way people move smarter, safer, and more efficient. For more information about Robotic Research, visit rr.ai.
NFI is a leader in zero-emission mobility, with electric vehicles operating or on order in more than 80 cities in five countries. Today, NFI supports growing North American cities with scalable, clean, and sustainable mobility solutions through a four-pillar approach that includes buses and coaches, technology, infrastructure, and workforce development. It also operates the Vehicle Innovation Center (“VIC”), the first and only innovation lab of its kind dedicated to advancing bus and coach technology and providing workforce development. Since opening late 2017, the VIC has hosted over 300 interactive events, welcoming 3,000 industry professionals for EV and infrastructure training. For more information, visit newflyer.com/VIC.
Leveraging 450 years of combined experience, NFI is leading the electrification of mass mobility around the world. With zero-emission buses and coaches, infrastructure, and technology, NFI meets today’s urban demands for scalable smart mobility solutions. Together, NFI is enabling more livable cities through connected, clean, and sustainable transportation.
With 8,000 team members in nine countries, NFI is a leading global bus manufacturer of mass mobility solutions under the brands New Flyer® (heavy-duty transit buses), MCI® (motor coaches), Alexander Dennis Limited (single and double-deck buses), Plaxton (motor coaches), ARBOC® (low-floor cutaway and medium-duty buses), and NFI Parts™. NFI currently offers the widest range of sustainable drive systems available, including zero-emission electric (trolley, battery, and fuel cell), natural gas, electric hybrid, and clean diesel. In total, NFI supports its installed base of over 105,000 buses and coaches around the world. NFI common shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NFI. News and information is available at www.nfigroup.com, www.newflyer.com, www.mcicoach.com, www.arbocsv.com, www.alexander-dennis.com, and www.nfi.parts.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements which reflect the expectations of management regarding New Flyer’s and NFI’s strategic initiatives, plans, business prospects and opportunities, including the future existence and growth of a market for advanced driver-assistance systems (“ADAS”) in transit vehicles and the economic, efficiency, reduction in street congestion, safety and other benefits arising therefrom. The words “believes”, “views”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “expects”, “intends”, “projects”, “forecasts”, “estimates”, “guidance” and “targets”, “may”, “will”, and similar expressions, are intended to identify forward looking statements.
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, market and general economic conditions and economic conditions of and funding availability for customers to purchase vehicles with ADAS; ADAS technology currently in existence has not yet been fully developed and tested for use in transit vehicle applications; ADAS vehicle regulations and standards have not yet been developed and implemented to permit fully autonomous transit vehicles to be operated in revenue service; there may not be sufficient customer demand for transit vehicles with ADAS, or at all, in order to commence or maintain the manufacture of such products; the expected economic, efficiency improvements, safety and other benefits described in this release for the communities, customers and passengers that operate and ride on transit vehicles with ADAS may not be as great as those anticipated or may not be realized at all; and the other risks and uncertainties discussed in the materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Due to the potential impact of these factors, NFI and New Flyer disclaim 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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