Hovering Aero Train – Click above to watch video after the jumpA 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.
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