By Elizabeth Egan
Published December 4, 2023
The Vicinity Autonomous Lightning EV, an automated electric bus, will be coming to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC).
The deployment of the vehicle through a partnership between ADASTEC Corp, the developer of the autonomous driving software used within the self-driving shuttle, and Vicinity Motor Corp, the company manufacturing the electric bus itself, is part of the Buffalo All Access: In and Around BNMC project.
The project is partially funded through a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) under the ITS4US Deployment Program. ADASTEC and Vicinity are working as a team to integrate the sensors and autonomous driving software on the bus that is estimated to arrive in Buffalo by July of 2024.
A team of UB faculty is leading the deployment of the self-driving shuttle on the medical campus and overseeing the work done by ADASTEC. The faculty involved includes: Chunming Qiao, a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department, Victor Paquet, professor and chair in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, Jordana Maisel, the director of research in the Urban and Regional Planning Department, Adel Sadek, professor, and Stephen Still, professor of practice, both in the Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering Department.
The team is responsible for various pieces regarding the evaluation of the technology deployed in the Buffalo All Access project. Paquet and Maisel are also looking at the human factors and accessibility issues associated with autonomous vehicles.
The Vicinity Autonomous Lightning EV will demonstrate ADASTEC’s automated transportation technology in a full-sized commercial vehicle. It will also demonstrate how the vehicle performs in Buffalo’s winter conditions.
“We are very excited to be working with ADASTEC and Vicinity Motor Corp. on what we view as a truly transformative project that aims to improve mobility for all ages and abilities in our region,” said Sadek.
The automated bus will use ADASTEC's proprietary automated software platform, flowride.ai, which integrates advanced sensor technology and artificial intelligence to allow the bus to safely navigate urban environments and to handle adverse weather condition, allowing for reliable transportation all year long.
“ADASTEC’s prior experience with operating self-driving automated buses in Michigan and Norway gives us confidence that their vehicle will be better equipped to handle Buffalo’s harsh wintry conditions,” Sadek added.
The vehicle will also be designed to improve accessibility for all community members including those with disabilities and the elderly. The bus will have on-board attendants and other state-of-the-art accessibility features to ensure an inclusive transportation experience.
“Besides working with ADASTEC on the Buffalo All Access project, we, at the University at Buffalo, are looking forward to a long-term, collaborative relationship with ADASTEC in the emerging area of public transportation automation research and development, which the university is heavily invested in,” said Qiao.
About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC):
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is a world-class health & innovation district located in Buffalo, New York. It encompasses 120 acres and is home to an extensive network of hospitals, research centers, educational institutions, and private companies, making it a hub for healthcare, research, and innovation. BNMC is a 501-c-3 organization that plans and manages the medical campus, focusing on leveraging the district's assets to build an innovation ecosystem that creates positive social and economic impact for our community. For more information, please visit www.bnmc.org.
About ADASTEC Corp.:
ADASTEC Corp. is a pioneering software company dedicated to advancing autonomous and connected public transportation vehicles. Leveraging its proprietary software platform, flowride.ai, and sensor stack, ADASTEC enables electric public transit buses to achieve SAE Level 4 autonomy. With a global presence, ADASTEC collaborates with bus OEMs worldwide, with deployments in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia/Oceania. The company is headquartered in Michigan, USA, with additional operations in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as offices in Brabant, the Netherlands, and Stockholm, Sweden. For more information, please visit www.adastec.com.
About Vicinity Motor Corp.:
Vicinity Motor Corp. (NASDAQ:VEV)(TSXV:VMC) ("VMC") is a North American supplier of electric vehicles for both public and commercial enterprise use. The Company leverages a dealer network and close relationships with world-class manufacturing partners to supply its flagship electric, CNG and clean-diesel Vicinity buses, as well as the VMC 1200 electric truck to the transit and industrial markets. For more information, please visit www.vicinitymotorcorp.com.