Bus manufacturer New Flyer is steadily electrifying its lineup – among other projects, it is delivering 525 hybrid buses to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. To help operators get used to the new technology, the company has commissioned an e-bus simulator at its Vehicle Innovation Center in Anniston, Alabama.
The Xcelsior CHARGE Bus Simulator, designed and installed by simulation training specialist FAAC, uses full-scale OEM components. Drivers will experience a bus environment with hardware operating just as it would in a New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE electric transit bus, including a working door and ramp, lights, mirrors, air-brake system, and adjustable driver’s seat.
“The simulator features an 8-foot-tall screen with a 180-degree field of view, the largest screen FAAC has ever installed,” said Derek Fulk, Senior Project Manager at FAAC. “The screen was critical in providing a realistic experience for the bus operator, and delivering a learning experience complete with audio, visual, and tactile details.”
The display system projects 4K (high definition) resolution onto a cylindrical screen through ultra-short-throw lenses, creating a realistic driving experience. The system even delivers tactile sensations to simulate curb and roadside jostling.
The simulator’s main objective is to train drivers in the use of regenerative braking, which can extend range, lower energy consumption, and reduce brake system maintenance.
“A skilled driver of an electric bus can have as much as a 15% impact on the energy use, so critical skills training of this type can dramatically reduce transit authorities’ operating costs,” said New Flyer President Wayne Joseph.