Autonomous vehicles

A major North American bus maker is adopting advanced driver-assist and autonomous driving software

Gillig partnered with RR.AI, the commercial arm of Robotic Research, which says it has 80+ “fully unmanned” vehicles in operation.
article cover

Gillig

· less than 3 min read

Stay up to date on emerging tech

Drones, automation, AI, and more. The technologies that will shape the future of business, all in one newsletter.

Big bus news this week: Gillig, one of North America’s top bus manufacturers teamed up with RR.AI, which develops autonomous driving systems.

The goal: The new partners will develop commuter buses with driver-assistance systems and self-driving tech. Gillig was founded in 1890 to make horse-drawn carriages and has worked with major transit agencies across the US since then. One recent example: In May 2021, it announced a $44 million deal to deliver at least 44 electric buses to the Utah Transit Authority.

  • The company says it plans to roll out the new features to all its buses, but its latest electric model will be first in line for the upgrade.

Let’s get down to business

RR.AI is the commercial arm of Robotic Research, a self-driving and robotics company that specializes in military tech—and is responsible for 80+ “fully unmanned” trucks currently in operation, according to the company.

  • Gillig’s parent, Henry Crown and Company, participated in Robotic Research’s $228 million Series A funding round, which was announced last month. Cue the strategic partnership.

The two companies have their sights set on Level 4 autonomy for the new commuter buses, meaning the tech can operate independently in select situations, such as driving in a bus yard or transit depot. That’s significantly more autonomy than Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving,” which is considered Level 2, or “partial autonomy.”

As for the driver-assistance systems, they’ll include features like “automatic emergency braking [and] precision docking…in addition to blind-spot detection and pedestrian avoidance.”

Stay up to date on emerging tech

Drones, automation, AI, and more. The technologies that will shape the future of business, all in one newsletter.