Palleted Automated Transportation Technologies

While there are no known projects currently underway that are aimed at the development of palleted automated transportation technologies for use in meeting urban mobility needs, this topic keeps coming up, over and over again, in conversations and discussions about how to tame the automobile. Few people seem to know that it has been examined quite extensively by several persons during the past 25 years.

One of these people is David Gordon Wilson, a retired (1994) Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He is the author of two papers that deal with this topic in some detail. Persons who wish to work on the development of such a technology should definitely read these papers.

A brief description of some of the work on Palleted Automated Transportation (PAT) at MIT is provided along with several illustrations of the PAT concepts that were designed at MIT.

Some people think that the Automated Highway System should provide only for the movement of automated pallets that carry conventional autos from place to place - thereby eliminating the problem of inspecting each vehicle before allowing it to be used on an automated highway. In such a "dual-mode"system, the autos would be driven on and off the pallets and only the pallets themselves would have to be maintained and certified periodically for use on the automated highway. One such system, called the Integrated Transportation System , has been conceptualized in some detail and information about it is available at this Web site

The citations for the two papers by Professor D.G. Wilson are as follows:

Abstracts of these papers are provided. Both are likely to be available in libraries of moderate size or they can be obtained from most any library by using interlibrary loan procedures.

Persons who know of currently active palleted transportation projects are urged to contact Professor J. Schneider at so information about them can be added to this web site. Professor David Gordon Wilson can be reached via e-mail at MIT at His other contact info is as follows: Ph: (781) 729 2203; fax: (617) 258 0485; smail: D.G. Wilson, MIT Mechanical Engineering, Room 3-455, Cambridge, MA 02139

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Last modified: September 2, 1997