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More than half of America’s school children – or twenty-six million of them – take the school bus every day.  School bus drivers are in charge of safely and efficiently transporting our children from our homes to their school. The current traffic condition and road challenges pose difficulties for school bus drivers. Additionally, they have to keep an eye on all the kids on board. With school bus safety issues at the forefront of protecting our children, school bus drivers need all the assistance they can get. Through the partnership of two industry leadersIC Bus, a Navistar Subsidiary, and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, the Bendix Wingman Fusion Collision Mitigation System may be the perfect wingman for our dependable school bus drivers.

bendix wingman fusion technology on following distance alerts
Bendix Wingman Fusion can keep 26 million school children safe.

Bendix Wingman Fusion Collision Mitigation System: Technology for Making Safe Travel Even Safer

One of the “safest modes of transportation” is the school bus. According to the American School Bus Council, youth fatalities during school travel hours for a school bus is less than 1%. This is 70 times safer compared to an adult driving the vehicle (with the youth fatality rate at 23%).

Designs of buses come with safety features such as flashing red lights, stop sign arms and cross-view mirrors. Seats have high backrests and thick pads for added safety features. The school bus industry has a brighter future for school bus safety with the new IC Bus CE Series. It is equipped with Bendix Wingman Fusion Collision Mitigation System.

school bus safety issues, trish reed qoute
Vice President and General Manager of IC Bus, Trish Reed, puts safety on top of their priority.

Trish Reed, Vice President and General Manager of IC Bus shares, “When we made this electronic stability control and collision mitigation standard on all of our school buses, it’s something that we thought carefully about. But we knew at the end of the day, it’s the right thing to do for our customers and the industry.”

IC Bus and Bendix Partnership Addressing School Bus Safety Issues

The Bendix Wingman Fusion is a flagship driver assistance system by Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC. This collision mitigation system integrates the power of radar, a forward-facing camera, and the vehicle’s brake system into a comprehensive driver assistance platform. Bendix Commercial Vehicle System LLC is the country’s frontrunner in active vehicle safety and braking technologies. Forging a partnership with Bendix, IC Bus created and developed a line of school bus models that aim to tackle school bus safety issues.

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Scott Burkhart, Bendix VP, on advanced safety technologies.

Innovative, powerful and effective, IC Bus is the only school bus that uses the passive alert system. It also utilizes an active vehicle intervention through automatic system braking. Bendix Wingman Fusion Collision Mitigation’s accurate assessment of road conditions ahead aims to help avert various vehicle crash scenarios. It includes rear-end collisions, side-swept collisions or roll-over and loss of control scenarios.

Looking Into the Technology behind the Bendix Wingman Fusion Collision Mitigation System

Technology alone cannot address school bus safety issues. The skills and experience of school bus drivers are still of paramount importance. However, the added intelligence and intervention of the Bendix Wingman Fusion system will help keep school bus drivers be in control. This also includes varying driving factors and road conditions.

With a Driver Interface Unit (DIU) mounted on the vehicle’s dashboard, the Bendix Wingman Fusion uses sound alerts and visual warnings to alert the driver. The Radar, located at the front part of the school bus, senses when the vehicle in front is within a dangerous distance. The alerts will advise the school bus driver to intervene by either slowing down or stepping on the brakes. If the driver fails to respond, Bendix Wingman Fusion will actively intervene by applying the brakes. By utilizing de-throttle, engine retard and foundation breaks, this adaptive cruise control, and braking system help drivers follow safer distance between the bus and the vehicle in front.

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Fred Andersky (Bendix Director of Marketing) on Collision Mitigation Systems.

The system also employs a stationary object alert through the help of the forward-facing Camera and radar. If the vehicle is cruising above 10mph, the system gives up to a 3-second warning. It will give the driver the leeway to slow down or maneuver the vehicle away.

Accordingly, if the vehicle runs at more than 15mph, Bendix Wingman Fusion intervenes by applying the brakes. The camera is also designed to read road speed limit signs and road lane designations. The driver is notified when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit and departs from its designated lane.

Leaders, policymakers and companies must share the accountability of School Bus Safety Issues and ensuring the safety of kids. Making the collision mitigation technology a standard feature of school buses, IC bus is taking significant steps in equipping our school buses.

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