Not too many people know that we have our own 40 ft. transit bus. This is the story of how we ended up with a working bus that we call “Orion.”
SST’s entry in to Commercial TPMS for transit buses started in 2010 with visits to Watcom Country, WA and Boston, MA to run TPMS trials with the respective transit authorities. What the engineers decided was that in order to continue the development, we needed access to a working bus.
We asked to have continual access to a bus, but there were no takers. Upon further investigation we discovered that for the most part, transit authorities are self-insured and they won’t allow proto typing or test equipment to be placed on their vehicles.
The next step was to try buying a bus. We asked around at some of the transit operators in Canada, and soon found out that almost all authorities have a policy that prohibits them from selling a bus after its service life and that the vehicle must subsequently be scrapped.
We turned our attention back to the United States and purchased a 40 ft. Orion from Watcom County, which was brought back to our engineering facilities located in Delta, BC.
Like kids with a new toy, albeit a really big toy, our engineers began testing immediately; this included extensive system field trials, design modifications, installation improvements, performance evaluations and enhancements. Similar to our Off The Road TPMS, we were able to produce a system that was thoroughly field tested to be able to take to market two years later.
As a result, some of the lessons learned from Orion helped us develop a multi-function, dash mounted driver’s alert module to inform the operator of the vehicle about a tire issue without impeding their concentration. A quick and easy install antenna using mounting bracket and the use of multiple receiver antennas for durability and reliability.
Orion continues to be an invaluable arrow in our engineering quiver. It has taken the guesswork out of our development cycle with immediate real world feedback required to keep SST Wireless on the cutting edge of TPMS development.