Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



industrial policy, intelligent highway vehicle systems, military products, scientific research activities, transportation systems


Since the conclusion of World War II, the U.S. government has developed a massive sponsorship of scientific research activities, primarily to advance military goals. This financial support of both private companies and national labs has constituted a closet industrial policy whose usefulness and efficiency is now coming into question. The end of the Cold War has produced a consensus in the United States that military spending must be cut dramatically. These reductions will mean loss of revenue for national labs and for military contractors, many of whom are structurally dependent on their primary customer - the Department of Defense. Different private companies will respond to these challenges in different ways, but the most prudent will seek to convert their technological competencies into new products for new markets. Intelligent Highway Vehicle Systems (IVHS), which uses sensors, communications and information management to increase the capacity of transportation systems, is one possibility for conversion. IVHS shares technological and structural similarities with advanced weapons production. In this paper, 24 private companies and six national laboratories are examined. Each of these companies are both prominent recipients of DoD contracts and interested in IVHS. For each of the private companies, the following factors are examined:

  • the current level of diversification in non-military products
  • technical competency in transferrable technologies
  • experience in !VHS-related commercial markets

Each of the six national laboratories are profiled. Finally, predictions are given for ever-changing political climate of technology conversion, particularly with respect to the federal support IVHS is likely to receive in the future.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Technology Transfer From Military Applications to Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems, Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida, 18 p.