Mass_Transit_June_2021 - 39

Automated Bus Rapid Transit
Improves Safety
Automation can improve bus
safety by augmenting the operator's
eyes and ears. ABRT reduces
mishaps and accidents by helping
the driver overcome blind spots
and " see " potential hazards before
there is an accident.
Automated bus technology is
playing an increasingly important
role in collision avoidance. In 2018,
U.S. transit agencies reported 4,676
bus collisions, 16,348 injuries, 84
fatalities and $684 million in liability
expenses. What's more, 74 percent
of high-value bus claims (over
$100,000) were related to collisions.
To increase safety and eliminate
costs from accidents, automated
collision avoidance systems
are being installed to assist
operators by providing visibility in
blind spots. Imaging sensors, such
as cameras, radar and LIDAR can
now generate a real-time virtual
model of the area surrounding the
bus, detecting encroaching traffic
or pedestrians. The same technology
can be used to monitor problem
areas, such as rear entry doors,
which can be especially hazardous.
These same sensor systems can
not only alert the driver to potential
obstacles, but they also can be
linked to bus braking and steering
using drive-by-wire installations.
Avoidance and Emergency Braking
(AEB) systems have become
common in passenger cars and
are increasingly being used in
transit buses to prevent collisions
with pedestrians, cyclists and
other vehicles that share the road.
Furthermore, automated braking
and acceleration also provide
smoother stops and starts which
generate a more comfortable ride
while reducing passenger falls.
These are just three areas
where automation will transform
bus transit systems. As with all
robotic technology, the objective
is to make the operator's life easier.
Automation enhances driver
capabilities, removing stress from
bus operations by offering assistance
with tough tasks such as
docking alignment, monitoring
blind spots and supplementing
bus operations with automated
safety systems like AEB.
And the good news for bus transit
authorities is this technology is
available today. Transit operators
such as CTDOT and the Kansas
City Area Transportation Authority
are procuring new buses and
retrofitting buses already in service
with new sensors and drive-by-wire
technology. And as the technology
continues to become more sophisticated
and more cost-effective,
expect to see more ABRT systems
emerge in the near future.
Alberto Lacaze is the
co-founder and
president of Robotic
Research LLC
and a recognized
expert in robotic
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JUNE 2021 | | Mass Transit | 39


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