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.