At this year’s National Association for Pupil Transportation Summit and trade show, school bus manufacturers, service providers and associated vendors put their shiniest buses on display and talked about the latest and greatest products and services their companies had to offer. And, as a leader in the school bus industry, we definitely had a few shiny things of our own to show off. In addition, we showcased a variety of services that make owning and operating one of our buses as easy, low cost and, well … as fun as possible. Here’s what you missed.
The Future of Diesel Technology Is Here
The long awaited Detroit™ DD5™ engine is here! The DD5 engine is the latest in medium-duty engine technology combined with the most advanced connectivity platform in the industry. This clean-burning engine provides exceptional fuel efficiency, power, proven performance and reliability as well as the lowest total cost of ownership. Plus, it’s constructed to provide efficient operation of the aftertreatment system in low speed stop-and-go operations.
This revolutionary engine, which will power the popular Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner® C2, will be available for order in 2018, as will the Detroit DD8™ engine, suited for the Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner® HDX. If you missed it at NAPT, you have to see this engine in action.
The Latest in Innovations
Coming in 2018, our Detroit DD5™ and DD8™ engines will be equipped with Detroit Connect Virtual Technician™ remote diagnostics service, which will provide the most in-depth and advanced engine diagnostics and intelligence in the industry. Participants at the NAPT trade show were able to check out the power of Detroit Connect as they watched a mock fault code pop up on a bus and within minutes, the “fleet manager” received a notification of the cause of the fault code, the level of severity and recommendations for fault resolution as well as the parts to fix the problem.
Detroit Connect Virtual Technician is unlike anything else in the industry and will make buses easier to maintain, more cost-effective to service and will keep your fleet running at maximum uptime. And, it will make your job a whole lot easier.
The star of the Thomas Built booth was this Saf-T-Liner® C2 equipped with the latest in BusWise™ Technologies. Participants at NAPT were able to catch a glimpse of the PV360® multi-camera, WiFi, Mobileye N.V. collision and lane departure warning system, and more in action. Since the technology platform debuted last year, these innovations have been extremely popular and are available today through your local dealer.
If you love telematics as much as we do, you will love that we are installing the Zonar® V3 telematics control unit solution in the Saf-T-Liner® HDX, Saf-T-Liner® EFX and Minotour® school buses as factory-installed standard equipment starting with new buses ordered November 14, 2016, or later. It already comes standard on the Saf-T-Liner C2.
Partners from Zonar were on hand at NAPT to walk through their technologies, which truly are shaping the future of the school bus industry. This remarkable system combines high-definition GPS fleet tracking with real-time access to vehicle performance, subsystem and diagnostic information. To date, Thomas Built remains the only school bus manufacturer to incorporate this level of state-of-the-art telematics as factory-installed standard equipment on all of its school buses.
If you haven’t seen the Saf-T-Anchor Removable Seat (S.T.A.R.S.) mounting system yet, you are missing out. Participants at NAPT were able to see this proprietary system and watch demonstrations on how to uninstall and reinstall the seats in a matter of minutes. If you are looking for more cost-effective and easier to install special-needs seating, check out the S.T.A.R.S. system. It’s revolutionary and the only one of its kind in the industry.
A Strong Network For You
And in addition to all of this, a team from our supporting Daimler Truck North America network was on hand. They showcased financing options through Daimler Truck Financial and our robust all-makes parts selection through Alliance Truck Parts. These team members and hundreds of dealer and service locations across the United States and Canada are primed to help make fleet managers’ jobs and school bus maintenance as easy as possible.
If you have questions about anything you saw at the show, or if you’d like to chat about what you missed, just let us know.