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The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration announced the release of $6.5 million for research funding for innovative transit bus automation demonstration projects aimed at improving safety and efficiency.
Such projects may include strategies for avoiding collisions with pedestrians, improved emergency braking, and precision movement for bus refueling, charging, and maintenance, according to a Sept. 22 FTA news release.
"This funding opportunity demonstrates the Department’s commitment to supporting the use of technology that improves safety for transit riders and workers," FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said in the release.
Under the notice of funding opportunity, $5 million is being made available for advanced Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for transit buses to help strengthen bus operator safety and efficiency, the release reported. There will be $1.5 million available for automated transit bus maintenance to fund operations aimed at improving efficiency and safety in maintenance facilities.
According to the release, the FTA will also look at the potential impacts on the workforce resulting from the funding opportunity as a part of its mission to help transit workers prepare for technological industry advancements.
Following the FTA's Strategic Transit Automation Research (STAR) Plan, the FTA will continue to study the potential usage of driving automation technologies in bus systems, the release reported. The FTA is also funding several real-world demonstrations to determine the potential benefits, costs, and other impacts of automation, as well as providing transit agencies with resources, guidance, and tools to make educated decisions before potentially deploying transit buses with automated features.