An Overview of Automated Highway Demonstration '97

Note: This operational demonstration of multi-vehicle, very short headway, vehicles is relevant to PRT because, if successful, it should help convince people that PRT vehicles can also be operated at very low headways - thus providing the capacity that many think PRT must provide to be economically viable.

Demonstration '97 includes a full-scale, live, multi-vehicle highway demonstration of automated highway system (AHS) technologies and an exposition center.

AHS refers to a dedicated highway lane in which vehicles are automatically controlled -- the vehicles' steering, braking and throttle are controlled by the system, not the driver. The AHS lanes and the vehicles that operate on them will have special sensors, computers and communications devices to enable automated control.

The 1997 Proof-of-Technical-Feasibility Demonstration to be conducted by the National Automated Highway System Consortium (NAHSC) responds to a provision in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991.

WHEN: August 1997



High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on Interstate 15 San Diego Calif.



Miramar Community College

San Diego, Calif.

PROJECT TEAM: Demonstration '97 project team is comprised of the NAHSC Core Participants, other stakeholders and special interest representatives.
GOAL: AHS Demonstration '97 will reveal that the necessary technologies either exist or are in development, and that an automated highway system will be a viable alternative in meeting travel demands and enhancing mobility.


While the demonstration will not directly represent the final prototype system it will contain applications of technologies, systems and subsystems that will be building blocks leading to a full AHS prototype. The demonstration will be conducted using contemporary cars, buses and light trucks on a segment of a real roadway, employing currently available and emerging automated vehicle technologies and concepts.
EXPOSITION SUMMARY: The Exposition Center will feature stand-alone demonstrations of systems and technology applications, vehicles, equipment displays, computer simulations, small-scale demonstrations, presentations and literature.



The Demonstration will take place on a 7.6- mile segment of I-15 that has two operational reversible highway lanes.


A total of 92,778 guidance magnets will be installed on

I-15 for the Demonstration.


Free Agent Check-in


The scenario will start with four Buick passenger sedan vehicles in the south yard. Each vehicle will be manually driven from the staging area onto the entrance ramp and pass through a check-in station that verifies each vehicle's mechanical soundness and equipment status. The sedan without passengers will be redirected to the manual lanes.

Free Agent Check-out


At the south end of the lanes, one of the vehicles will exit the Highway 163 off-ramp and be subjected to a driver check-out evaluation.

Free Agent Exit


The driver will pass the test prior to returning to manual control. The other two vehicles will return to manual control and exit the left ramp toward the south yard.

Platooning Entry


Ten Buick full-size, four-door sedans will drive north on the entrance ramp under manual control, enter the right HOV lane of I-15 and transfer to automated control.
Platooning lateral and

Longitudinal Control


Platoon vehicles will proceed along the lanes where an additional vehicle will catch-up and join the back of the platoon. At the north end, the vehicles will return to manual control, stop, turn around, and regroup. Once repositioned heading south, they will accelerate in unison, transfer back to fully automated control, and return to the entrance point.

Maintenance and


The maintenance vehicle will travel north and south on the lanes, verifying the presence of functioning magnetic markers. A faulty or missing marker will be part of the script. The van will identify the location of the marker, notify the observing passengers-on-board and also relay the information to the Traffic Management Center at the Exposition Center.

While a free agent demonstration is in progress, a manually-operated vehicle will enter a different segment of the HOV lanes where a crew will "place" an obstacle. The free agent vehicle(s) will detect he obstacle and notify the TN+MC while the avoidance maneuver is in progress. The obstacle removal vehicle will be dispatched to the obstacle immediately from a convenient staging point. It will retrieve the obstacle and exit.

This information above came from the National Automated Highway System Consortium, which has been disbanded.

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Last modified: August 14, 2002