Texas A&M Transportation Institute Assistant Agency Director Steve Roop was honored by the Texas A&M Office of Technology Commercialization for three patents he received as part of the Freight Shuttle System, an innovative freight-movement system.
The annual Patent and Innovation Awards Luncheon was held Friday, April 26, at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center at the George Bush Presidential Library. Roop and numerous other Texas A&M University System employees were recognized for a total of 38 patents issued during the 2012 calendar year.
Roop’s 2012 patents represent various elements of the Freight Shuttle, including the guideway and the rotating loading dock.
“We are in the process of protecting the various features of the Freight Shuttle, and several other patents have been applied for,” Roop explains. “There have been numerous recent developments that indicate the construction of a prototype will be the next step.” Roop says he expects a prototype will be built over the next 24 months, with a system projected to be operational over the next 3 to 5 years.
The Freight Shuttle will move freight with a series of transporters that operate on a specially designed guideway. The propulsion system includes a linear-induction-motor assembly with virtually no moving parts. The transporters use flangeless steel wheels that run on a steel running surface. Designed to reduce energy consumption, congestion and pollution while delivering cargo more securely and faster, the Freight Shuttle could be used at border crossings or shipping ports. The patent for the overall Freight Shuttle concept was issued in 2010.