HIGH POINT, N.C. — Thomas Built Buses debuted a prototype of its new pedestrian detection technology at the STN Expo on Tuesday.
Leslie Kilgore, vice president of engineering for Thomas Built Buses, said that the company has been working with MITO Corp. and CUB Group to develop the pedestrian detection system, and “the technology is 90% there.” The goal is to prevent accidents in the danger zone around the school bus, such as when students step too close or kneel down to pick something up.
“As diligent as bus drivers may be, sometimes they just can’t see a child around certain areas of the outside of the bus,” Kilgore said. “That’s the problem we are hoping to solve. With our new pedestrian detection system, we hope to avoid unnecessary pedestrian accidents in the front, back, and sides of our buses, even within blind spots.”
Part of the BusWise Technologies suite, the new pedestrian detection feature will consist of LED ground lights on the cross-view mirrors as well as multiple radar units on the 77GHz frequency band, which will be installed around a Thomas Built bus. These higher-frequency radars, which are used for autonomous vehicles and high-resolution meteorological observations, allow for more precise detection and measurement of a pedestrian or object within 10 feet of the school bus, according to Thomas Built Buses. When a pedestrian is detected, the system will alert the driver on an in-cabin tablet as well as through caution lights on the cross-view mirrors.
“We are fortunate to have partners like Thomas Built Buses that share the values of protecting the lives of school children,” said Dan Maloney, president of MITO Corp. “Along with our partners at CUB, our team strives to continually provide the finest and most thorough technology available to mitigate a tremendous issue facing the school transportation industry.”
“CUB is extremely excited to work with the industry leader, Thomas Built Buses, on such an important feature,” said Augustin Leung, vice president of the ADAS (advanced driver-assistance systems) division of CUB Group North America. “Saving lives and mitigating accidents is a key focus to CUB since we are an industry leader in ADAS and driver safety devices.”
Thomas Built Buses will show the pedestrian detection system at other upcoming shows and will announce a production date in the near future.