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New Features Announced For 2008 MCI's

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Age: 62
Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 1693
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: New Features Announced For 2008 MCI's Reply with quote

From the 11/07 edition of FYI By MCI:

While the industry has been largely focused on the new EPA-compliant, clean-diesel engines that went into production in 2007, there are plenty of other changes afoot at MCI for the 2008 model year. Because 2008 coaches are already rolling off the production line, many customers are seeing the changes now.

That's entertainment
MCI is now installing Blaupunkt entertainment systems for its new E4500 and J4500 coaches. Blaupunkt is recognized worldwide as an innovator in mobile communications. Blaupunkt products are engineered, developed and built to suit the particular needs of the coach industry and undergo special quality testing to ensure that they are ideal for the coach environment. System benefits include increased audio quality, simplified wiring for troubleshooting, and plug-and-play components for expanded flexibility. System features include an AM/FM/CD player, a ten-disc music CD changer and various access ports for iPods, video cameras, etc. The video system features a DVD/CD/MP3 player with the option of four or six 15-inch monitor configurations. Customers who want to go all out can opt for multi-channel seatback audio system, dashboard scenery cameras or back-up cameras, GPS Navigation system and more.

High security
In an especially exciting move, MCI is offering an asset tracking system for the first time on its 2008 coaches. The sophisticated telemetry system will allow operators to be continuously connected with their equipment and operators as well as better manage costs, maintenance and scheduling.

Operators will be able to track their fleet's current location and vehicle status via the Internet. The high level of integration with the powertrain, tire monitoring and other coach systems allows real-time reporting or alerts to a PC, cell phone or Blackberry. The system can also track driver performance, inappropriate speed, excessive idling, hours of service and more, generating helpful reports for fleet management.

Brad Driedger, an MCI product planning engineer who's been working on the project, says that the asset tracking system will allow operators to view coach engine data and codes online, which will help with troubleshooting when repairs are needed. He envisions that owners and / or MCI will be able to "interrogate" coaches remotely to diagnose problems quickly and efficiently by knowing where the coach is and what the problem is.

The asset tracking system also provides an increased level of security never before offered for MCI customers. Drivers' IDs are stored by the system to prevent the unauthorized use of equipment; and, in the event of theft, the coach can be remotely de-rated by authorized officials. Department of Homeland Security funding may be available in some situations.

MCI will also make its coaches DriveCam-ready for 2008. Though the camera system itself will be offered as an option, all coaches will come with all the harnessing needed for easy installation. Operators opting for a DriveCam system will receive a cellular-ready video/audio camera shipped loose for installation on a predetermined bracket. The two-camera cellular unit will be able to detect and capture various incidents, allowing operators to monitor driver performance or any passenger incidents. There is also a panic button to manually capture audio and video events. The system then automatically downloads events to a web-based server where video and audio can be analyzed by the operator or managed by DriveCam's Risk Management team. The cameras may also help deter crime, vandalism and insurance fraud while heightening passengers' sense of security. Department of Homeland Security funding may be available in some situations.

Tire kickers
The SmartWave tire-pressure monitoring system is standard on all 2008-model MCI coaches, enabling drivers to monitor real-time tire pressure and temperature conditions via the optional SmartWave display. The SmartWave display, similar in appearance to the instrument panel gauges, has been relocated from the left-hand console to the instrument panel for a more ergonomic look. The SmartWave system continues to support the basic dual LED warning system as an alternative to the optional SmartWave display. MCI believes the system will help operators conserve fuel and increase the service life of their tires.

The new wireless maintenance hand tool, when activated, will receive air pressure, temperature, sensor IDs and battery status. The hand tool also provides a walk-around learn procedure and has the capability to store tire data. The SmartWave system can be integrated with the optional asset-tracking system.

New standards
Look for interior lighting refinements on the E4500 and J4500 coaches, including a soft-start and fade off for the stepwell light, fade off for the driver's light, staggered lighting for the main interior lights and a reading-light test switch. For a gradual increase in interior lighting, the main interior lamps, when activated, will illuminate the reading lamps initially; staggered fluorescent lamps will follow, and finally all interior lamps will light and reading lamps will turn off. To help determine if any bulbs have burned out, operators can activate a switch to choose the reading-lamp test mode. A "Pre-trip" mode has also been added to the software, allowing coach operators to easily inspect all exterior lights without having to initiate each exterior light switch individually.

MCI has also upgraded its windshield wiper systems. The new wiper system on the E4500 and J4500 offers higher spring force on the arms, wider sweep angle, six-jet washer nozzle for quick cleaning of the windshield, and a smarter wiper control module from Sure Power. The new wiper system for the D-Coach offers twice the torque available from the Bosch system. In addition, the system is equipped with an electrical washer tank for higher efficiency and reliability. In both systems the wiper blades have a protective coating to reduce damage from UV and ozone to increase system durability.

A new Buy-America compliant roof hatch is made of recyclable materials and is built to better resist UV damage and leaks. It also offers three vent options as opposed to the current one.

Accessing other changes
Wheelchair lifts on the MCI E4500 and J4500 are getting a more durable, user-friendly controller. with rocker switches instead of buttons, and with a sturdier control cable.
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Mr. Linsky
BusTalk's Offical Welcoming Committee

Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 5071

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess we don't have to think twice about who makes the best OTR's now!

As though the 4500's weren't already the greatest thing since sliced bread!

Now, from what I read, they've gone 'one step beyond' with an array of creature comforts second to none on their newest offerings.

Like everyone else, I felt very sad when GM closed its doors and I thought the void they left would never be filled, but MCI has changed all that, at least in my mind!

This is a real boost for bus watchers, and I'm happy to be part of it!

MCI's engineering and design skills as well as their ability to anticipate the future needs of their customers should be congratulated!

So, let's hear it for MCI!

Mr. Linsky - Green Bus Lines, Inc., Jamaica, NY
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Age: 62
Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 1693
Location: Central NJ

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's interesting that the pre-trip feature already exists on some Orion and NF transit buses. It is activated when the B/O depresses both floor-mounted turn signal switches simultaneously, causing all exterior lamps to operate for 2 minutes.
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