The so-called “Freight Shuttle System” was conceived to resolve one of freight transportation’s most pressing needs, moving goods 500 miles or less.
Source: Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday helped unveil a new mode of transportation and applauded the partnership of university research and industry investment that made it possible.
The developers said the so-called “Freight Shuttle System (FSS)” was conceived to resolve one of freight transportation’s most pressing needs, moving goods 500 miles or less.
Abbott was joined by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp in rolling out the autonomous FSS, which would operate on its own guideway using single, remotely controlled transporters carrying truck trailers or shipping containers, powered by linear-induction electric motors.
Abbott called the FSS a product of “exemplary collaboration.”
“Freight movement is vitally important to our state’s economy,” Abbott said, adding that the FSS “will help ensure that we are able to meet our growing demand for efficient freight movement in Texas and ensure our long-term prosperity.”
Roger Guenther, executive director of the Port of Houston Authority, said his agency and Freight Shuttle International (FSI) recently signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to evaluate options over the next few months for deployment of the FSS at the port. The port and FSI said they will announce more details of the agreement on Monday.
Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) Agency Director Dennis Christiansen said, “The FSS is the result of more than a decade of research at TTI. The technology has produced 17 patents held jointly by the A&M System and FSI.”
Researchers say the FSS borrows the best characteristics from both truck and rail transport, and uses only about one-third the energy required by diesel trucks.
The autonomous electric shuttle vehicles could dramatically reduce pollution, cut down on roadway congestion, truck-related highway crashes, and infrastructure, in addition to improving delivery time reliability, its promoters say.
“The industry cannot thrive without augmenting our existing transportation system and fundamentally changing how we approach freight movement,” said Steve Roop, the inventor of the FSS and founder and chairman of FSI. “The Freight Shuttle System is designed to blend into today’s intermodal network, integrating proven technologies with novel patented designs into a new mode of transportation.”