PAC-ITS: Towards AHS and 150 mph Highways 970451

A unique approach to intercity highway transportation entitled PAC-ITS: Packet Autopiloted Cruiseway - Intelligent Transportation System, has been detailed in a recently completed contract for the National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC). The PAC-ITS concept focuses on: (1) improving the productivity of intercity travel (2) facilitating increased highway speeds in a safe and environmentally permissible manner; and (3) minimizing automation complexities. Key concept features include:
  • Use of PAC-ITS convoys which are composed of a mix of 15 or 20 vehicles - personal cars, buses and freight units - electronically and mechanically linked together.
  • Interconnection of all vehicle power trains and brakes enabling unified convoy acceleration and braking.
  • Individual active lateral guidance for each convoy vehicle
  • Professional “pilot” control of each convoy from a specially equipped lead vehicle.
This paper outlines the functional features of PAC-ITS; describes the rationale behind the concept; and structures a three phase evolutionary development and deployment scenario leading to 150 mph operations.
This paper draws upon the author's years of involvement in strategic planning and R&D of advanced transportation systems at U.S auto companies, as well as his more recent consulting work in Intelligent Transportation Systems.


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