When Volkswagen launched its "Peopleís 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 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?
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
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.