For years, flying automobiles have only existed in science fiction. Several attempts have been made to overcome this mechanical impossibility and build one in reality. This dream might be a little closer to coming to fruition, and this could shape how we commute, work, and live in the coming decades.
According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Chinese researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, Sichuan province, conducted road testing last week for modified passenger cars that use magnets to float 35 millimetres above a conductor rail.
A #maglev vehicle technology test saw a 2.8-tonne car float 35 millimeters above the road and run on a highway in #Jiangsu, east China. A permanent magnet array was installed for levitation. pic.twitter.com/7vWc8TvJpn
— QinduoXu (@QinduoXu) September 12, 2022
To put it another way, the experimental vehicle employs magnetic levitation (maglev) technology.
The researchers placed eight sedans with strong magnets on the vehicle bottoms and tested them along an 8-km rail.
Surprisingly, one of the eight cars reached a speed of 230 km per hour.
The cars may be seen occasionally levitating as they move over the track in a video that a Chinese journalist posted.
According to Xinhua, government transportation authorities conducted the experiments to research high-speed driving safety measures. However, according to Deng Zigang, a university professor who worked on the vehicles’ development, adopting magnetic levitation for passenger cars may result in lower energy consumption and greater range.
That might help with “range anxiety,” a problem faced by the electric vehicle industry when customers worry that they won’t be able to finish a trip in an electric car without running out of power.
Since the 1980s, some commercial trains have employed magnetic levitation, or “maglev,” which uses an electrified magnetic field to propel or pull objects at high speeds. Today, maglev trains are used in South Korea, China, and Japan.
In Qingdao, Shandong province, last year, China unveiled a maglev bullet train with a top speed of 600 kilometers per hour.