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This paper is concerned with robust longitudinal control of vehicles in intelligent vehicle highway systems by adaptive vehicle traction force control. Two different traction force controllers, adaptive fuzzy logic control and adaptive sliding-mode control, are proposed and applied to the fastest stable acceleration/deceleration and robust vehicle platooning problems. The motivation for investigating adaptive techniques arises from the unknown time-varying nature of the tire/road surface interaction that governs vehicle traction. Synchronous application of the engine or brake torques is also proposed for more stable vehicle maneuvers. The lack of controllability during braking (only one net input torque for the two control objectives, i.e., front and rear wheel slips) is partly overcome by applying auxiliary engine torque. Simulations of the two control methods are conducted using a complex nonlinear vehicle model which fully describes the dynamic behavior of the vehicle. Both controllers result in good performance under time-varying operating conditions.