School Bus Fleet

November 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 77

20 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 4 gan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), which convenes groups and provides the tools and environ- ment to research technology safely before it takes to the roads, says not to hold your breath. "There are degrees of automat- ed technology that have to come into play long before you get to what con- sumers think when you say driver- less," she explains. "Most consumers think there's a car with no steering wheel [or] gas pedal and it's just driv- ing down the highway along with me in my car with a steering wheel and a gas pedal. We have a long way to go before we get there." However, Romine says, many auto- makers are working on high degrees of automated technology, such as adap- tive cruise control, which is on almost every type of car today. Automated vehicle technology A number of the automobile manu- facturers have been implementing var- ious levels of autonomy already, such as park assist, adaptive cruise control — the car maintains a safe speed be- hind the car in front of it, and if that car slows down or stops, the car equipped with the technology will stay a safe distance away — particularly in high end, more expensive vehicles. Traditional automobile manufac- turers are saying they are going to continue to advance autonomous vehicle technology incrementally as they become more comfortable and as people become more comfortable, other specialized equipment. By the time self-driving vehicles even get to school transportation, Knight says, they will be more evolved. "It takes a long time for [technology] to trickle down to school buses because you're usually talking about expensive options, like cars that park themselves, and bus manufacturers know that school districts [have to] buy as cheap as we can," he explains. Trish Reed, vice president and gen- eral manager of IC Bus, agrees, point- ing out that school buses by design are typically a bit later in the cycle to receive and implement state-of-the- art technologies — versus passenger cars — because of the immense focus on safety. "The safety of our school buses and the precious cargo they transport are the frst priority when it comes to de- signing and building school buses," she says. Reed adds the technologies will ar- rive frst in passenger cars, where the volume and scale allows for them to be tested, validated, "and proven again and again before they ever make it to the real world. ... The automotive and passenger car industry is typically the laboratory for innovation and ground- breaking product development," she says. "Based on the adoption rate of new technologies in the automotive space, you'll see some of those tech- nologies rolled out in commercial ve- hicles, and, later, school buses." For example, automatic transmis- sions rolled out decades ago for pas- senger cars, and are now a standard of- fering on school buses, she says. In terms of a massive deployment of self-driving cars, Francine Romine, director of marketing and communi- cations for the University of Michi- Ramped-up Vehicle Tech Would you trust a self-driving car to take your child to school? Source: One year ago, the University of Michigan created the plans for Mobility Transformation Center, a public-private research partnership that includes government and academic partners and vehicle manufacturers such as Ford, GM and Toyota. It will focus on v2v and automated tech- nology and research. Yes 24% No 76%

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of School Bus Fleet - November 2014