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.
The idea of hover cars and hover boards that work by pushing against an installed metal grid or naturally occurring mineral veins in the ground is directly lifted from "Uglies" by Scott Westerfeld. It is a pretty neat concept, but the cloud labeled "then a miracle occurs" is a fairly sizable thunderhead. Other than the "car" that the couple sits in, this is certainly CG. I especially like the part where they take an elevated off-ramp - must be relying on the rebar mesh in the concrete as they would be pretty far from all those in-ground minerals up there. Also, I didn't see any seat belts. What do you think would happen if a car that's shaped like a hampster wheel and no saftey restrainst finds a 10 meter stretch of pavement that didn't have underlying "minerals"? I'm thinking "worlds roundest coffin" or "largest runaway tire".
The VW hover car is a concept that is about 500 years premature. It will obviously use a weak force generator, anti-gravity beam for levitation. Then for locomotion it would require interaction with say, the Earth's geomagnetic field. You'd have to keep the magnetic force low enough so it didn't dangerously attract nearby loose magnetic material like other vehicles! Acceleration would therfore be very, very slow.
Actually, the ideal hover craft would use, instead of complex collision avoidance electronics, the concept of additional graviton fields that would sense the approach of other objects and repel itself from them, essentially slowing down. Moving forward on the highway would be as simple as falling in line behind other moving traffic as though you were a bumper car. You'd join other traffic and couple magnetically or with graviton fields as car couplers in a long train.
The power plant would be a grapfruit sized fusion power reactor with direct conversion to electrical and gravitational energy. :-)
This is a work of fiction, not a real vehicle. Although, yes, it IS a concept.
Is it really ZERO EMISSIONS? No. That's either a lie by someone who knows better, or the ignorant utterance of an advertising wonk. The power has to come from somewhere, and wherever it's sourced, there are emissions.
Will it really just run on the roads in Chungdu? Canal water! The density of heavy metals cannot be high enough to enable this... besides which, the riches in exotic materials in the Chungdu area of Sechzuan are in mines, not on the surface.
There ARE maglev vehicles... trains above rails, in fact... and to have maglev cars, we'd have to have special roadways built.
But I have to hand it to Vee Dub... they've managed to prove PT Barnum right:
The idea of personal magnetically levitated hovercraft doesn't seem very practical. The greater the air-gap, the less efficient. Further, and probably of greater significance, the energy required to support the weight of the craft, in comparison to a wheel/bearing/axle suspended system (which would also be capable of use off the grid) seems wasteful. Maglev trains require a lot of precision alignment and maintenance but the high cost is offset by the utilization density.
This is all marketing hype and no real technology. Not something DesignNews should be reporting on. I'm starting to wonder how many of these "design news" articles aren't just advertisements presented with an engineering flavor to dupe us into reading them. How many more articles on 3D printing and Indy "tech" are there?
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!
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.