Airplane/train hybrid could replace high-speed trains [w/video]

Hovering Aero Train – Click above to watch video after the jump
A Japanese research team led by Yusuke Sugahara at Tohoku University has built a robotic prototype of a free-flying, ground-effects vehicle that floats within inches of the road. Called Aero Train, this ground-effects vehicle will be used to test an autonomous three-axis stabilization system.

Packing electric motors, the Aero Train hovers inches above the tarmac, eliminating any rolling resistance and allowing it to hit a top speed of 124 miles per hour. A U-shaped concrete channel controls air flow and provides the Aero Train's robotic controls with a makeshift road to follow. On-board computers control pitch, roll and yaw of the prototype.

In the future – get this – the developers envision the Aero Train traveling within a tunnel capped with solar panels that send juice directly to the vehicle's batteries. Hit the jump to catch video of the prototype Aero Train floating down the road.

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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