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[文摘] VOLKSWAGEN’S FLOATING CAR

It looks like a flying glass bubble and seems like something out of a Jetsons cartoon, but Volkswagen’s hovercraft concept is a bit more than just sci-fi. The prototype emerges from the “People’s Car Project” which was set up in China to encourage fans to submit ideas about what sort of cars they’d like to drive in the future. The disc-shaped hovercraft can seat two people and uses magnetic levitation to ride several inches over the road surface.  Definitely a bit different from your normal 4 wheeled car. The concept is in fact, anything but science fiction. China already has a magnetic levitation train called the Maglev which runs between Shanghai and the city’s main airport on a cushion of air. This requires a magnetic grid to be placed over tracks or roadway. The hovercraft concept uses special sensors to remain properly positioned over that grid and to avoid other vehicles. It hovers above ground and travels along electromagnetic road networks. It can detect other vehicles on the road while navigating China's congested traffic centres, and its small footprint makes it easy to park. It can move forward or back, left or right and even spin. Or the vehicle can be operated automatically so that the driver can plug in a destination, sit back and enjoy the ride. The Volkswagen Hovercraft produces no emissions, although as with any other electric vehicles in China the system draws energy from the country’s heavily polluting coal-fired electric infrastructure. If successful enough Volkswagen will extend the project and consider bringing it to other countries.
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