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NOVO’s latest system prioritises safe bus and safe children

NOVO Transport Systems’ latest generation of its popular Safe-Check model has been released, with the system ensuring that no children will be left on buses

If TS-160 solutions, park brake alerts and CCTV systems weren’t enough, NOVO Transport Systems, in conjunction with Solid Circuit Enterprises, has produced a new multi-function safety product that is all about keeping the little ones and the public safe.

In the latest line of NOVO’s range, the NOVO Safe-Check 2.0 has just been launched to ensure no children are left on any Australian buses. Solid Circuit director Kieran McHatton, alongside fellow industry quiet achiever Scott Kyle, has unveiled the new product, heralding in a unique way of keeping school bus passengers safer than ever before.

“We wanted to build an intuitive system that interacts with drivers, telling them what they need to do to keep children safe on buses,” McHatton told ABC.

“Our Australian design is the latest evolution on this type of product and uniquely differs from the competitors.”

This newest bespoke solution is designed to easily retrofit into existing vehicles, with the model being produced in conjunction with leading Australian bus and coach operators to tailor it to operator requirements. Complying with stringent NSW and Western Australian safety specifications, the Safe-Check 2.0 includes more than just a simple passenger check process.

The model includes three products in one, with Safe-Check 2.0 able to be used as an anti-rollaway, sleeping child check and an MP3 trigger module.

It’s this MP3 tailorable system that also gives the Safe-Check 2.0 a point of difference in the local safety market. When a driver turns the ignition on, the speaker immediately springs to life, announcing that Safe-Check is active.

Scott Kyle says the voice file can be user specific, with depots able to download MP3 files and put them onto the unit to create a bespoke personalised message for drivers.

Once the bus completes its run and the ignition is turned off, the speaker reminds the driver to complete a check of the bus and press a deactivation button at the backseat area of the vehicle. The button flashes red so that it’s easily identified, encouraging the driver to conduct a search through the bus before pressing the button and turning it green, where the speaker announces that the check has been completed.

Image Supplied: NOVO

“The technical side of this process is fully programmable by the user,” Kyle told ABC.

“They can set what MP3 files play out of the speaker at each point and set times that it takes to activate the system within the NSW and WA requirements.

“A delay-on function is also incorporated for Rosa Coaster type vehicles.

“The system also comes with an optional in-service isolation key that plays a system isolated message in line with the WA specification.”

After releasing the Safe-Check 1.0 five years ago, technology has evolved in the local bus and coach sector. Solid Circuit has incorporated all of these changes into the next phase of the safety system to improve functionality and reduce costs for operators.

“When used as a park-brake alert, the system can monitor the ignition, park brake and driver’s seat belt to provide another layer of safety,” Kyle says.

“When a rollaway risk is identified, the speaker alerts the driver and the inbuilt relays trigger a warning tone for the surrounding public, with interlocks also available to secure the bus.

“In addition, the unit also has three inputs to play user defined alerts in the form of MP3 voice files when a ground signal is received.”

McHatton says the anti-rollaway feature of Safe-Check 2.0 works in two ways – by either seeing if the ignition and handbrakes are off before providing an alert, or by connecting into the seat belt buckle for an added layer of safety.

This new technology is already showcased onboard the auction bus that was sold off at the Bus Industry Confederation’s National Conference at the Adelaide Oval in late October. It’s also already been installed on a range of buses for operator Swan Hill Bus Lines.

McHatton says a major benefit of the latest model in the Safe-Check range is that it can be installed by a technician that doesn’t necessarily have bus experience.

“We developed this model to connect to the battery and ignition, with plug and play to the rear button and drivers’ alert speaker,” he says.

“A big bonus of this is that there’s no cutting into the existing horn circuitry during installation.”

Only five years after the first iteration of Safe-Check, it’s clear that NOVO & Solid Circuit have once again raised the bar with safety products. McHatton says operators can do more than ever before with its latest version.

Whether it be using the system to monitor emergency features onboard the bus or to keep passengers safe in a whole new way, Kyle’s aim is to keep younger students on school bus routes as safe as can be.

“We’re proud of this model and how easy it is to install,” Kyle says.

“The goal for the Safe-Check 2.0 is to remind drivers to always walk to the back of the bus to ensure no children are left and to remind the driver to apply the park brake. If they don’t, the external alarm will also alert others to the danger.

“Operators should be thinking about planning retrofits over the Christmas break.”

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