Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

New Flyer XCelsior AV autonomous electric bus

Autonomous Vehicles

New Flyer Xcelsior AV Is America’s First Autonomous Bus

The New Flyer Xcelsior AV is America’s first SAE Level 4 autonomous electric bus – and it’s more than a futuristic concept, it’s road-ready NOW!

American bus manufacturer New Flyer recently took the wraps off an all-new battery-electric model it’s calling the Xcelsior AV. Electric buses are nothing new, of course, and we celebrate just about every inch they gain over their diesel-engined cousins, but what makes this particular new bus announcement special isn’t what’s under the hood of the Xcelsior AV. Rather, it’s what’s behind the wheel: nothing.

New Flyer XCelsior AV autonomous electric bus

Developed in concert with engineers from Robotic Research, New Flyer claims the Xcelsior AV (for “Autonomous Vehicle”) is the first vehicle of its kind to offer SAE level 4 autonomy in North America. The autonomous capabilities are made possible by two primary technologies. The first is a sensor suite called AutoDrive, which is Robotic Research’s own self-driving technology. Sensors mounted on and in the bus serve as the eyes and brain of the self-driving system, and are constantly mapping the environment, making decisions, and navigating the bus’ pre-programmed route. The second system is AutoDrive ByWire, which are the physical/mechanical systems that act like the hands and feet of the automated system, which turn the steering wheel, pump the brakes, and ultimately, you know — drive the bus. All of which should mean smoother, safer travel for bus passengers and the people around them.

“Our Xcelsior AV represents the anticipated future of safety in public transit and the latest leap forward for New Flyer,” said Chris Stoddart, President, New Flyer. “We committed to building an automated transit bus and within five years, (and) we’ve delivered an industry-changing vehicle. The technology is real and it’s here … together with Robotic Research, we are leading clean, accessible, reliable mobility that’s safer for all.”

Last year, New Flyer announced North America’s first deployment of automated transit buses into revenue service as part of a pilot project with the Connecticut Department of Transportation funded by the Federal Transit Administration. The FTA’s Integrated Mobility Innovation initiative, as the project was called, supports “projects demonstrating innovative and effective practices to enhance public transportation effectiveness, efficiency, quality, safety, and transit rider experience.” According to New Flyer, its work with the Connecticut bus fleet is making meaningful towards proving that a number of autonomous vehicle’s imaged benefits are, in fact, real. The benefits they cite specifically are:

  • Economic and societal: AVs save $242 billion in costs incurred by motor vehicle crashes, including $57.6 billion in lost workplace productivity, and $594 billion due to loss of life and decreased quality of life due to injuries.
  • Safety: AVs improve safety and use ADAS technology to avoid collisions — of which 94% of serious crashes are caused by human error.
  • Efficiency and convenience: roads filled with AVs could smooth traffic flow and reduce traffic congestion, freeing up to 50 minutes per day of non-driving.
  • Mobility, accessibility, and jobs: studies suggest that AVs could create new employment opportunities for approximately two million people with disabilities.

You can watch New Flyer’s new self-driving bus get put through its paces driving, parking, and more in this great video from the company. It also gives a good overview of some of the sensors being used to keep not just passengers safe, but — crucially, as they become more and more popular — urban cyclists safe, as well! Check it out for yourself, then let us know what you think of the Excelsior AV in the comments.

North America’s First SAE Level 4 Autonomous Bus

Source | Images: New Flyer.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica member, supporter, or ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

New Podcast: Forecasting EV Sales And EV Battery & Metal Prices — Interview with BloombergNEF's Head of Clean Power Research

Written By

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Air Quality

Courtesy of Environmental Defense Fund ( Air pollution standards that ensure all new heavy-duty trucks and buses sold for urban and community use are zero-emitting by...

Autonomous Vehicles

Welcome to China × Cleantech — January 2021 edition. Our China x Cleantech series covers top cleantech stories in China each month. Happy 牛 Year! I...

Clean Transport

Transit agencies need to transition their bus fleets to electricity ASAP. The Biden administration knows that and is trying to help. The Federal Transit...

Clean Transport

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland has decided to fully electrify its fleet. It has chosen Highland Electric Transportation to get to work...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.