New Flyer of America Inc. commissioned the Xcelsior CHARGE™ Bus Simulator at New Flyer of America’s Vehicle Innovation Center (VIC), North America’s first and only innovation lab opened in October 2017 and dedicated to advancing bus technology.
The simulator, designed and installed by FAAC Incorporated using a 180-degree screen display and 4K projection system, is one of the first in the world to use full-scale original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components to control the bus simulator. Drivers of the simulator will experience a bus environment with hardware operating just as it would in a zero-emission, battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE™ transit bus. Drivers familiar with traditional bus systems will notice a working door and ramp, lights, mirrors, air-brake system, and adjustable driver’s seat inside a full-scale CHARGE™ front cabin.
“The Xcelsior CHARGE™ Bus Simulator at the VIC features an eight-foot-tall screen with 180-degree field of view screen, the largest screen FAAC has ever installed,” stated Derek Fulk, sr. project manager at FAAC. “The screen was critical in providing a realistic experience for the bus operator, and delivering a learning experience complete with audio, visual, and tactile details.”
The simulator is the world’s first application of the Digital Projection E-Vision 4K projector. The display system projects 4K (high definition) resolution onto a cylindrical screen through ultra-short throw lenses. The effect is full-visibility of the virtual environment, creating a near-identical driving experience, complete with tactile sensations reflecting curb and roadside jostling.
The simulator’s main objective is to support driver training specific to regenerative braking, an energy-saving technique drivers can employ in conserving battery-electric energy. Operating techniques and skills gained from the simulator will improve bus operation, including extended range, reduced energy consumption, and less brake system maintenance. Engineers, maintenance technicians, drivers, transportation representatives, business leaders, and regulatory officials are among those expected to gain insight into operating electric buses through the simulator.
“The simulator is just one element of the VIC featuring modern technology to support research and development in advanced public transit solutions,” stated Wayne Joseph, president of New Flyer of America. “New Flyer is committed to leading advancement of bus and coach technology in America, and working with FAAC helps bring this vision to life, while benefiting Americans through training that leverages electric and autonomous bus technology. A skilled driver of an electric bus can have as much as a 15% impact on the energy use, so critical skills training of this type can dramatically reduce transit authorities operating costs.”