Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., recently hosted members from the International Motorcoach Group (IMG) at its Vehicle Innovation Center (VIC) in Anniston, Ala. Located on New Flyer of America’s manufacturing campus, the VIC features a lab and education center dedicated to exploring developments in propulsion, vehicle connectivity, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and design for future buses and coaches.
IMG members are the first private sector transportation operators to visit the VIC which opened last October.
The three-day exploration covered MCI’s deployment of ADAS systems, vehicle connectivity through telematics, and the battery-electric platform coming to MCI models in 2020.
Attendees learned how ADAS, available on MCI J-Series models, provides a step toward autonomous coaches. MCI’s best-in-class ADAS features collision mitigation upgrades to latest-generation Bendix Fusion that integrates a forward-facing camera with vehicle recognition software to detect and stop for stationary objects; the system also offers lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, and more, along with a new optional 360-Degree Camera featuring reverse sensing and audible warning alert. IMG members also got to test the technologies on MCI coaches at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
David Warren, director, sustainable transportation, at New Flyer, gave a presentation titled “The Essentials of Electric Bus and Coach Technology and Deployment,” offering an in-depth review of lithium-ion batteries, propulsion motors, high-voltage power conversion, and equipment supporting multiple types of industry charging standards.
Attendees also took part in hands-on Learning Lab sessions, including experiencing an electric bus driving simulator that helps drivers hone regenerative braking techniques to increase range and energy efficiency. They also observed how today’s telematics that connect vehicles paves the way for greater efficiency in electric coaches. MCI’s long-range battery-electric J4500e prototype is already setting benchmarks in test-runs with production scheduled to begin in 2020.
IMG is a membership organization comprised of 57 North American coach operators that work together to elevate the standard of service for passengers.