Transferability of Automation Technologies
This report examines the feasibility of transferring 13 current automated systems technologies from light-duty vehicles and commercial trucks to 40-ft diesel transit buses. It explores the associated technical and safety challenges of implementing those systems in transit buses and ways to overcome some of the identified barriers to implementation. The transferability of each systems was given a grade of Red, Yellow, or Green, with Green indicating most ready to be transferred.
Transferring existing automation systems from other vehicle formats will generally require modification, replacement, or redesign of components and systems on the bus. Sensors are relatively mature and should be able to be adapted to buses without modification. To enable other automation systems, however, the transit bus industry will need to implement foundational and interfacing systems that can support electronic actuation. Modifications to propulsion systems should be more easily made than modifications to other foundational systems (i.e., steering and braking). Steering systems may require more modification, but heavy-duty vehicle steering solutions that enable automation exist and may not require extensive changes. Implementation of electronic control of a transit bus brake system appears to be a major challenge, as pneumatic brakes found in buses are less conducive to automation and more extensive design changes may be needed. Automated applications may require a new communication system architecture with bandwidth to carry numerous complex signals reliably. Finally, buses will require new human-machine interfaces to control automation systems, although these should be relatively easy to design and implement.