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Jul 31, 2007 - 10:20:00 PM - Print

School Buses Of The Future Are Here Today

(NAPSI)-The big yellow school buses that many generations of parents and grandparents are accustomed to have changed dramatically over the past few years-and that's good. New technology has recently been incorporated into school buses to help increase overall safety and performance.

For example, to combat the issue of leaving children on school buses, the nation's largest school bus manufacturer has developed a solution: When a school bus driver parks the bus at the end of a route, an audible alarm will sound. The driver must then physically walk to the back of the bus to turn off the alarm. In doing so, the driver is reminded to check the seats to make sure no student has fallen asleep or is hiding on the bus.

Many school buses also include a GPS device that helps school officials track the location of the vehicles at all times. With a product called AWARE Vehicle Intelligence by Navistar Electronics, not only can school officials track the location of a bus, they can also monitor its performance, including how fast the bus is traveling, which stops have been made and even how much fuel is left in the tank. The school can also set up a "geofence" that sends an alert via e-mail or text message if a bus leaves its designated area.

School bus drivers also have a more comfortable, safer approach to driving, since many automotive characteristics have been integrated into today's newer-model buses. Steering wheel controls let drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel while operating red flashing lights and the school bus door. Anti-lock brakes provide superior stopping capability during varying road conditions.

"Student safety and security is the No. 1 priority," said Michael Cancelliere, vice president and general manager of IC Corporation, the largest school bus manufacturer in North America. "School buses of today are designed and manufactured with safety, perfor-mance and new technology in mind."

On the environmental side, too, school buses have come a long way. New school buses feature diesel engines that meet or exceed new regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency. This results in less engine emissions and overall cleaner air. More details about how this new technology works are available at www.GreenDieselTechnology.com.

Perhaps the ultimate in environmental school buses is the new diesel-electric hybrid recently unveiled by IC Corporation. This hybrid bus uses plug-in technology to achieve improved fuel efficiency ratings of 70 to 100 percent. The diesel emissions on a hybrid school bus can be improved by up to 90 percent. The first districts to use the hybrid buses have raved about performance on the road and overall fuel savings for the school district.

Compared to yesterday's school buses, the new models may not look that different from the outside, but what goes on inside is vastly different. A tremendous amount of research, design and new technology help the next generation of advanced school buses get children to and from school quickly, safely and in a way that's environmentally wise.







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