The VW hover car came from the People's Car project in China, which asked citizens to contribute design ideas for VW's "model of the future." The website devoted to the program has attracted 33 million visitors, who have submitted some 119,000 ideas.
As reported by HuffPost Tech: The hovercraft...uses electro-magnetic levitation to float along its own grid above the regular road network; distance sensors keep the craft from colliding with other vehicles. The disc-shaped pod seats two people and is controlled by a joystick that offers amazing maneuverability. The car can move both back-and-forth and side-to-side and can even spin on an axis. To top it off, the concept car produces zero emissions.
VW showed two other concepts from the campaign at last month's Beijing Auto Show: The Music Car, which causes the exterior color of the car to change with the driver's choice of music; and a car with an advanced touch-screen that will display all the vehicle's functions.
"We are no longer just building cars for, but also with customers and at the same time initiating a national dialog which gives us a deep insight into the design preferences, needs and requirements of Chinese customers," VW director of marketing Luca de Meo told the auto show audience.
The company has a long history with amphibious vehicles starting with the Schwimmenwagen--a German "jeep" that could ford a river, and be driven on the other side. That car was derived from the Type 1, which would become the VW Beetle.
More recently, VW has been playing around with other hovercraft as well, like the 2020 Aqua Hovercraft Concept vehicle. The Aqua's two motors are powered by a hydrogen fuel cell--meaning it has zero carbon emissions--and features four fans and integrated airbags that inflate to make it hover.
The Aqua Hovercraft was shortlisted at the Car Design Awards China 2011, which was sponsored by Volkswagen, GM, Daimler and Chrysler.