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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 o

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Top Gear walks a very narrow line between documentary, sitcom and reality television. And while some aspects of it are true, it shouldn't be a huge shock that there are plenty of staged elements. Still, there seem to be elements of the British public that think everything shown on the telly is true, which makes the latest controversy over Top Gear's fakery seem rather silly to us.

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The wheel ranks right up there with the telescope and four-slice toaster in the pantheon of inventions that have moved humankind forward. But what if a circle in three dimensions had never occurred to anyone, and we all had just moved on without it? Perhaps we'd be driving around in Lucas Motors Landspeeders with anti-gravity engines. Or maybe we'd have the same cars we do today, just without wheels.

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Our favorite DeLorean-turned-hovercraft is back. The Kickstarter-funded project was originally the brainchild of grad student Matthew Riese, and the last time we saw it, the floating car was busily hovering around McCovey Cove in San Francisco. This time, Riese's creation has taken to bombing beaches down by the Golden Gate Bridge. The video below shows the hand-built machine busting along the bay before taking to land for a quick flat spin. We can't convey how badly we want to operate this thin

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Will we soon be commuting on real-life hovercraft soon? It depends on what you mean by "soon," "commuting" and "real-life."

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What's better than any Back to the Future tribute DeLorean? This. Because hovercraft.

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We've shown you autonomous cars, like the self-driving system Cadillac says could be on the road in a few years. We've also brought you flying cars, like the Terrafugia Transition. Now Volkswagen looks to combine the two with a hovercraft concept, featuring an auto-drive mode.

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The Mel Brooks Star Wars send-up Spaceballs may be most memorable for its flying Winnebago, but a hovercraft also features in the hilarious action. Like a lot of movie prop vehicles, the hovercraft that carted Dark Helmet around had no power source of its own (other than a Napoleonic Rick Moranis in some scenes).

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Homemade flying hovercraft – Click above to watch video after the jump

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