Pathfinder Infopage

sketch of
pathfinder vehicle Pathfinder is a PRT-scale concept that is currently under development. Low cost and simple but rugged design are two primary objectives of the developers. It features 4-5 passenger vehicles that are suspended from an elevated guideway. guideway. It would provide demand-responsive service, 24-hours a day under all weather conditions and a computer would be used for routing and control purposes. Pathfinder would be powered by energy-efficient batteries and would be very quite in operation. Its guideway is small and would and not present difficult visual intrusion problems. Battery charging would be provided at stations which can be off-line and could be elevated or located at ground level. The capacity of a single guideway is estimated to be a maxiumu of 3,600 vehicles per hour. A widespread network is envisioned so that multiple dispersed origins and destinations can be served with non-stop service that is safe, reliable and as private as the user wants it to be.

The vehicle would provide seats for four adult passengers and could also be configured for freight. It would be suspended from a drive train located inside the guideway and would be self-leveling on grades. User friendly controls would be provided as would wheel-chair accessibility. The vehicle would be powered by two direct-drive, battery-powered, low friction motor wheels that would ride on a smooth surface inside the guideway. The batteries would be automatically recharged in the stations or when idle. Fully-charged, the vehicle could operate for as much as four hours. Inside the vehicle, a passenger would select a destination from a panel. The vehicle would be routed and controlled by an on-board computer which would insure a safe separation between adjacent vehicles at all times. The guideway would be an enclosed steel box beam 14" by 18" with a 2" slot on its underside. Passive sensors would monitor vehicle speed and position. It would contain no moving parts and the interior would be protected from moisture and debris. Support columns could be either steel or concrete and could be designed to meet local conditions and aesthetic desires.

Off-line stations would allow vehicles to make non-stop trips from origin to destination. The could be ground level, elevated or located inside buildings as appropriate. The would be sized to meet expected maximum demand levels during peak-periods.

A central operations facility would be provided to allocate vehicles as needed and would transmit and receive performance data from each vehicle. It would provide emergency response services. A maintenance facility would provided to clean and maintain the vehicles.

An artist's sketch of a dual direction Pathfinder system is shown below. A full-scale mock-up of the vehicle has been completed - click here to see it .

[artist's sketch]

More detailed information on the Pathfinder concept can be obtained as follows:

Dick Hill , President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Pathfinder Systems, Inc., 725 South Adams Road, 242A, Birmingham, Michigan 48009, Ph: (248) 645-0401; Fax: (248) 645-2697


Last modified: December 6, 1998