New Flyer of America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc., has commissioned the Xcelsior CHARGE bus simulator at the company’s Vehicle Innovation Center (VIC), located in Anniston, Ala.
The simulator, designed and installed by FAAC Inc. using a 180-degree screen display and 4K projection system, uses full-scale original equipment manufacturer components. Drivers of the simulator will experience a bus environment with hardware operating just as it would in a zero-emission, battery-electric Xcelsior CHARGE transit bus. Drivers familiar with traditional bus systems will notice a working door and ramp, lights, mirrors, air-brake system, and adjustable driver’s seat inside a full-scale CHARGE front cabin, explains New Flyer.
“The Xcelsior CHARGE bus simulator at the VIC features an eight-foot-tall screen with 180-degree field of view screen, the largest screen FAAC has ever installed,” states 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.”
According to New Flyer, the simulator is the world’s first application of the Digital Projection E-Vision 4K projector. The display system projects 4K (high-definition) resolution onto a cylindrical screen through ultra-short throw lenses. The effect is full visibility of the virtual environment, creating a near-identical driving experience complete with tactile sensations reflecting curb and roadside jostling, New Flyer says.
The simulator’s main objective is to support driver training specific to regenerative braking, an energy-saving technique drivers can employ in conserving battery-electric energy. Operating techniques and skills gained from the simulator are expected to improve bus operation. Engineers, maintenance technicians, drivers, transportation representatives, business leaders and regulatory officials are among those expected to gain insight into operating electric buses through the simulator.