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ComfortDelGro adding buses with auto emergency braking to private fleet

[SINGAPORE] Transport operator ComfortDelGro has bought four Volvo buses fitted with collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

The buses, the first of their kind here, will start plying from Dec 1 as part of its unscheduled bus services.

The Volvo B8R 49-seaters are equipped to brake automatically and come to a stop if it "senses" a collision is about to take place.

A radar-based sensor and a camera are activated once the bus accelerates past 15kmh. When it detects a potential collision with another vehicle, the system alerts the driver through a blinking red light on the dashboard and a beeping sound.

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If the driver still does not respond, the system immediately initiates soft braking before applying full braking power to bring the bus to a complete stop before any collision happens.

The system also comes with a lane-keeping assist function that alerts the driver when the bus veers into other lanes.

Such safety systems are increasingly common in passenger cars, but are making their way into heavy vehicles now.

Mr Pang Weng Heng, chief executive of ComfortDelGro Bus, said the system is a "safety enhancement that will help our bus drivers avoid critical situations and accidents".

ComfortDelGro Bus plans to purchase more of such buses over the next two years. Six of its drivers have undergone training to familiarise them with the new safety feature.

This is not the first time that ComfortDelGro Bus has leveraged technology to enhance the safety of its buses. A year ago, it implemented GreenRoad - a telematics solution - on 32 buses that provide shuttle services at the National University of Singapore's Kent Ridge Campus to better manage its drivers' driving skills and behaviour.

It is not known if the new buses are equipped with blindspot warning or reverse cameras to mitigateamong the highest risks posed by heavy vehicles.

The Straits Times has asked the Land Transport Authority - which owns all public buses here - if it plans to introduce similarly-equipped buses here.