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Review and Comparison of Alternative Vehicle Automation Systems

The Center for the Environment, Energy and Transportation Innovation (CEETI) at Texas A&M University recently published a study of "dual mode" transportation systems at the request of Texas DOT. (Fundamentally, in a dual mode system vehicles can operate in two modes: manually, as they do now on regular roadways, and "automated mode", where the vehicles are equipped with special controls that operate the vehicle without human input in special road lanes.) The report, entitled "Dual Mode Vehicle and Infrastructure Alternatives Analysis", determined that five systems out of over 100 considered were Top Tier and stood out clearly from the rest in terms of their technological readiness and feasibility. CEETI defines a "dual mode system" as a combination of vehicle automation and guideway electrification. While there is widespread consensus that dual mode incorporates automated travel, the provision of electricity to the vehicles is an unnecessary requirement and may well prove to be a suboptimal solution for providing alternative energy for transportation. In fact, dual mode systems that include electrification – like the other four Top Tier designs – substantially compound the risk for the system's failure in the marketplace. A framework for evaluating system risk is presented and each of the Top Tier designs is examined accordingly. Finally, CEETI's technology ratings are employed to comparatively assess the relative readiness (and risk) of the Top Tier systems. QwikLane's design minimizes risk thereby maximizing potential for market acceptance.


The purpose of this analysis is to identify and compare the five "Top Tier" automated transportation systems identified in the recent study conducted by the Center for the Environment, Energy and Transportation Innovation (CEETI) at Texas A&M University. QwikLane is one of the five Top Tier systems; a head-to-head comparison with the four other Top Tier systems clearly establishes the advantages of QwikLane as the system best positioned to resolve the remaining technical, economic and human factor issues for transitioning to a new infrastructure paradigm. This analysis is presented in the following sections:

  1. Overview of the CEETI Study and Criteria
  2. Framework for Examining the Top Tier Dual Mode Designs
  3. Description and Analysis of the Five Top Tier Systems
  4. Comparison and Analysis of Key System Attributes