Video: Hovering Robotic Electric “Aero Train”

While the debate in America rages over the future of high speed rail, Japan is still looking for ever more futuristic ways to get around. The latest idea; a hovering “Aero Train” that floats above the ground.

This is like something out of the Jetsons. The Aero Train is a ground-effects vehicle…kind of like a combination between a Harrier VTOL jet and a hovercraft. Using electrically-powered motors, the aero train hovers just inches above the ground, eliminating any rolling resistance and allowing for a smooth ride and allowing for speeds of up to 124 mph. While the idea of an airplane/train hybrid is nothing new, the unique setup of the Aero Train sounds promising, if not in any way practical.

A U-shaped channel that the Aero Train travels down would control air flow and provide the Aero Train’s robotic overlord with a “road” to follow. Computers control the pitch, roll, and yaw of the prototype, which is obviously many years from any practical application. Eventually, a system of solar panels and/or wind turbines could provide zero-emissions electricity for the Aero Train which, due to its unique design, requires a lot less energy to run than your typical maglev trains. I’d be especially attracted to this idea if it eliminated the whole “mass” part of mass transit and instead provided a limited number of travelers with a comfortable and affordable way to get around. As it is, I wouldn’t mind having a hovering personal vehicle, though the applications for this as a mass transit solution are pretty far fetched.

So, while I’m not banking on such a “ground effect” vehicle showing up anytime soon, I will always admired people who can come up with a completely impractical science-fiction solution to a serious problem. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

Source: Inhabitat via DVICE

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.