When Volkswagen launched its "People’s Car" project, soliciting ideas for futuristic visions and concepts that could be made into reality, more than 119,000 ideas were posted, including the Hover Car, the Music Car, and the Smart Key. All were highlighted at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.
The Music Car concept involves an LED-covered Volkswagen Beetle that changes color to match the music selections of the driver, while the zero-emission, two-seated Hover Car levitates above the road and propels itself forward using electromagnetic road networks.
The Smart Key concept caters to the uber-attached, providing them with a 9mm HD touchscreen on the ignition key that monitors the status of the car throughout the day and keeps tabs on it via satellite transmission.
Wow, this is a pretty incredible concept car. It's actually so far out there, it makes me wonder how real the actual concept is and how much special effects come into play. I just can't get my head around the science of enabling a vehicle to do that. Interaction with underground minerals just doesn't seem like enough of an explaination.
Beth, I think that the car interacts with a cable in the ground that creates the magnetic field needed. This is just like the maglev train. It is a nice idea, but the cost of putting all that power in the ground is prohibitive.
Considering that we were all supposed to have flying cars by 1990, I like the new ideas that bring us closer to just beaming us places! It is time that the design process changes. We are working on better mileage and fancy electronics, but all cars look alike in their class, not like the 50s and 60s where there were defining features.
I would like to see defining features such as the hover car, gyro controlled one or two wheeler, or the ultimate- the flying car. After all, this is the 21st century for heaven's sake!
I love the idea of the hover car. I always figured it would come eventually. But what would that mean in managing traffic in the air? There is also the gimmick aspect. Remember those amphibian cars? Cool idea, not particularly practical.
That makes much more sense, but even with that, it's still somewhat surreal. I hear what you're saying about the cost of laying all that cable infrastructure down. It seems that infrastructure cost goes hand in hand, though, with any of these new alternative technologies. Infrastructure costs for laying some sort of power cable for this concept car, battery charging station infrastructure for pure EV technology, and whatever is required for the autonomous vehicles that Chuck is writing about. Somehow for all this innovation to take place, there has to be monies to fund wholesale infrastructure development--all at a time, when we can't find monies to fund existing infrastructure like bridges and highway systems.
This is great! Thanks for reporting on this. I also remember all those predictions in the 1960s about having flying cars by 2000. Now we just have to figure out traffic control. I hope it's more intelligent than the mess shown in, for example, The Fifth Element.
I'm afraid you'll have to count me as one of the non-believers, GlennA. The video refers to it reacting with "minerals" in the ground, which I don't understand. Maglev trains use the concept of the linear stator, and I suppose there could be a linear stator buried beneath the street along the course that it travels. But that, too, seems unlikely to me. Linear stators, like those used on the maglev trains in Germany, cost a ton of money to install. And even if they did use a linear stator, the air gap is still way too big. And what forces are they using to balance it (laterally)? This is really far-fetched, and there's just not enough information here for me to buy it. Count me as a non-believer.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Advertised as the "Most Powerful Tablet Under $100," the Kindle Fire HD 6 was too tempting for the team at iFixit to pass up. Join us to find out if inexpensive means cheap, irreparable, or just down right economical. It's teardown time!
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