Bus

New Flyer opens innovation lab for advanced bus technology

Posted on October 19, 2017

“The VIC is a dynamic, interactive, and progressive place where we can learn, share and work together to drive American public transportation innovation,” said Paul Soubry, CEO, NFI Group. Photo: METRO Magazine
“The VIC is a dynamic, interactive, and progressive place where we can learn, share and work together to drive American public transportation innovation,” said Paul Soubry, CEO, NFI Group. Photo: METRO Magazine
New Flyer of America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc. (NFI Group), the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, opened its doors last week to the new 30,000-square-foot Vehicle Innovation Center (VIC), America’s first innovation lab for advanced bus technology.

U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Jane Williams, along with several elected officials and industry leaders, delivered remarks at the grand opening ribbon cutting celebration in Anniston, Ala. on Oct.12.

U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Jane Williams (center), along with several elected officials and industry leaders, delivered remarks at the grand opening ribbon cutting celebration in Anniston, Ala. on Oct.12. Photo: METRO Magazine
U.S. Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Jane Williams (center), along with several elected officials and industry leaders, delivered remarks at the grand opening ribbon cutting celebration in Anniston, Ala. on Oct.12. Photo: METRO Magazine

More than 125 New Flyer customers, suppliers and team members were invited to tour the VIC’s state of the art manufacturing lab, virtual reality learning spaces, driving simulators, and other interactive exhibits.

“The collaboration between New Flyer, the City of Anniston, and the State of Alabama is a shining example of the power of public private partnerships, which is a key component of U.S. Transportation Secretary Chao’s Innovation Agenda,” said Ms. Williams. “We continue to embrace new technologies that will boost our economy and make our transportation safer and more efficient, and I am confident this facility will bolster the transit industry for years to come.”

FTA Acting Administrator Jane Williams tours the Vehicle Innovation Center with NFI Group CEO Paul Soubry (center). Photo: METRO Magazine
FTA Acting Administrator Jane Williams tours the Vehicle Innovation Center with NFI Group CEO Paul Soubry (center). Photo: METRO Magazine

The VIC is North America’s first innovation lab dedicated to the advancement of bus and coach technology that connects people to places, with a focus on the environment and sustainable transportation. It will feature advanced research and development capabilities that will evolve electric, autonomous and telematic technologies for bus transit.

“Anniston is being placed squarely on the map for innovation and technology, and New Flyer is a key part of that,” said Mayor Jack Draper. “I applaud New Flyer for its bold commitment to research and development that will further advance public transportation, which so many Americans depend on.”

The Vehicle Innovation Center features a state of the art manufacturing lab, virtual reality learning spaces, driving simulators, and other interactive exhibits. Photo: METRO Magazine
The Vehicle Innovation Center features a state of the art manufacturing lab, virtual reality learning spaces, driving simulators, and other interactive exhibits. Photo: METRO Magazine

The VIC was created by New Flyer in partnership with Motor Coach Industries Inc. (MCI), also a subsidiary of the NFI Group, to deliver on NFI Group’s commitment to investing in U.S. innovation, jobs, infrastructure, and manufacturing.

“New Flyer of America is building on our 87 year legacy of innovation to deliver disruptive transit technology that meets the complex demands of America’s growing communities today and into the future,” said Wayne Joseph, President of New Flyer of America. “The VIC is our latest investment in delivering safe, efficient, comfortable and sustainable bus technology that Americans can rely on.”

Newly appointed Chair of the American Public Transportation Association Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., (shown center with MCI's Pat Scully on right) was also a featured speaker at the event, where he explained that the new center was an "economic catalyst for our nation.” Photo: METRO Magazine
Newly appointed Chair of the American Public Transportation Association Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., (shown center with MCI's Pat Scully on right) was also a featured speaker at the event, where he explained that the new center was an "economic catalyst for our nation.” Photo: METRO Magazine

VIC official partners include Siemens, ABB, XALT Energy, A123 Systems, Parker/Vansco, Valeo (Spheros), Vapor Bus International (WABTEC), Powerex Inc., Ballard Power Systems, Hydrogenics, ChargePoint, Thermo King, EMP, Center for Transportation and the Environment, CALSTART, and Alabama Power.

Over the next two years, NFI Group will invest more than US $9.1 million to advance its electric-bus manufacturing program. This will complement the USD $25 million 36-acre Anniston campus facility expansion, which was supported by NFI Group, the City of Anniston, State of Alabama, and Alabama Power.

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