Robotics & Automation News

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Gillig and Robotic Research partner to develop autonomous buses

Gillig, a manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses, and RR.AI, a provider of autonomous mobility solutions, have reached an agreement to develop “next-generation advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology” for Gillig transit buses in North America.

This partnership will combine RR.AI’s vehicle automation experience and Gillig’s transit operations expertise to produce “state-of-the-art safety and performance capabilities”.

Derek Maunus, Gillig president and CEO, says: “We see this partnership as a great fit for both our companies.

“The Gillig team is passionate about delivering transformative products and solutions that make transportation safe, efficient, and help eliminate roadway congestion.

“RR.AI is equally committed to those important goals. We’re excited to work with such a technology leader to bring advanced vehicle automation technologies to cities across America.”

The companies will develop and test safety features such as automatic emergency braking, precision docking, and bus yard automation in addition to blind spot detection and pedestrian avoidance.

While commonly used in passenger vehicles, many of these features have not been widely deployed thus far on heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

Additionally, the companies will develop automated driving capabilities which can be deployed for select in-service operations or in the transit depot to help manage electric vehicle charging and reduce vehicle damage.

Henry Crown and Company, which owns Gillig as well as other transportation companies, made a strategic investment in Robotic Research, RR.AI’s parent company, as part of the company’s $228 Series-A funding last month.

Alberto Lacaze, CEO of RR.AI, says: “We believe the partnership with Gillig (and Henry Crown and Company) will improve the safety and well-being of drivers, pedestrians, and roadway users all while increasing efficiency for transit authorities and lowering costs.

“This partnership brings together leading innovators in the market today, a best-in-class OEM and best-in-class autonomy technology company.”

While Gillig expects to implement autonomous vehicles and ADAS features across its product lines, the company says its zero-emission battery electric bus will be one of the first to benefit from the advanced technology and capability enhancements.

Gillig’s electric bus features industry leading battery capacity, a Cummins powertrain backed by an unmatched service and support network, telematics, and flexible inductive and overhead charging options.

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