Toyota is one of the largest automakers in the world, but it's not content simply building and selling conventional cars – it's been at the forefront of numerous advancements in ground transportation. It is widely credited with advancing the cause of hybrid propulsion, and alongside Audi and Google, is among the first automakers seriously testing self-driving cars. We could go on, but the news here is that Toyota is reportedly developing vehicles that hover above the road surface instead of rolling along it.

The news comes from Hiroyoshi Yoshiki, one of Toyota's tech gurus, who revealed at Bloomberg's Next Big Thing summer in San Francisco that the company is working on hovering cars – ones that travel just above the road surface, but don't actually fly in three-dimension space.

According to The Verge, a spin-off of our own sister-site Engadget, Yoshiki refused to elaborate on what the project entails and how far along it is. He was speaking along acting NHTSA chief David Friedman, who lauded such advancements as a "great taste of innovations to come," but stressed the significance of more concrete improvements to conventional automobiles – like inter-car communications to keep vehicles from colliding on the highway – as more relevant to today's industry.


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  • 40 Comments
      tenspeeder
      • 6 Months Ago
      How about a car I want to be seen in, never mind fly in
      Mihela816
      • 6 Months Ago
      Toyotas no longer grounded to the ground? Blasphemy!
      Jesus!
      • 6 Months Ago
      Shouldn't they work on perfecting the ones that roll first?
      Nine Elements
      • 6 Months Ago
      Can't imagine tire companies are too keen to hear this bit of news.
      Joeviocoe
      • 6 Months Ago
      Not necessarily practical for cars or any personal transport meant for ubiquitous freedom of travel (public roads). But as an upgrade to the "High speed rail" Bullet Trains. But at some point the rolling friction is negligible compared to the air resistance. I think we will see The Hyperloop happen well before "hover cars".
      Avinash Machado
      • 6 Months Ago
      Good.Less wear and tear on the roads.
      Jeff C
      • 6 Months Ago
      Toyota's new slogan will be "Where we're going, we don't need roads"
      Tom Williamson
      • 6 Months Ago
      Back to the Future 2 was set in 2015... Robert Zemeckis was RIGHT! Now I just need Nike to sort these power laces.
      normc32
      • 6 Months Ago
      Toyota cannot even recall for airbags correctly, let alone fly a car. Let's not hope the use Takata bags for inflation.
      Andre Neves
      • 6 Months Ago
      In their ongoing mission to take away as much driving interaction away from the driver and make driving less thrilling, they will finally be disconnecting driver from the road...com
        waetherman
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Andre Neves
        Yeah. Thanks, Obama!
        1454
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Andre Neves
        That's actually a good thing for the rest of us on the road. Do you really want the "baby on board" 's of the world having any more control over the car than actually just "riding".
      Alfonso T. Alvarez
      • 6 Months Ago
      " ... it's been at the forefront of numerous advancements in ground transportation. It is widely credited with advancing the cause of hybrid propulsion, and alongside Audi and Google, is among the first automakers seriously testing self-driving cars. ... Are you kidding me?? Toyota, while being an admirable company for building bland appliances that sell by the gazillions, is nowhere NEAR being in the 'forefront' of numerous advancements'. It is also nowhere near being 'among the first automakers seriously testing self-driving cars.' Where, exactly, can you find ANYTHING that supports this kind of hyperbole??
        Ryan
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Alfonso T. Alvarez
        Actually, they have been testing self-driving cars. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYKFYLZolqI
      Serioso
      • 6 Months Ago
      I want this to happen just to hear the arguing over whether and how we should tax a car that doesn't damage the road.
        Serioso
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Serioso
        Certainly we can spend all day drawing free body diagrams of a car on the roadway, but the point of the comment was the taxation philosophy. :-)
        Joeviocoe
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Serioso
        Newton would disagree... the force is still transmitted to the ground... so whether across four wheels, or across a single line of magnets embedded below.. the foundation will get the force applied, and will need maintenance.
          waetherman
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Force and friction aren't the same - the "normal" force of a roadway supports the car, but the friction from the contact is what causes the wear on the road. Also, depending on how they're doing it, the weight of the car would likely be spread out over a much greater area than the typical four contact points of a car.
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