Mash-Up Puts Cars On Maglev Tracks

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Here’s what the morning commute was missing: magnetic levitation for your own personal vehicle. A Chinese design team envisions futuristic transportation that would allow individual commuter cars to drive on a maglev-like track.

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Chinese designers Zhen Qiu, Haowen Deng and Dong Chuang proposed a transportation system for the 2014 Michelin Challenge, a contest created by the automotive tire company to promote innovation and creativity in vehicle design. Their AKA24 concept calls for transparent pod-like personal vehicles that can be driven onto a special track. When you get close to the side, the vehicle gets magnetically pulled into a vertical “undriven” mode. A gyroscopic interior compartment keeps the driver upright for the ride.

“Wheels inspired by the memory fabric of Batman’s cape from ‘Batman Begins’ would contract and fold into their axles while in train mode, popping back out as you re-enter the roadway,” Dvice’s Colin Druce-McFadden explained. Yanko Design also highlighted the concept. The Chinese team ultimately placed second in the contest.

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Although it’s fun to picture this high-speed land ferry for individual vehicles, the system relies on several fantastical elements. Plus those wheels probably couldn’t handle any snow. The first place design was an inexpensive self-driving cab called BOT. Sounds safe and useful, but far less exciting than putting your car on high-speed train tracks.

Image: This award-winning concept mixes cars with high-speed rail transportation. Credit: Chuang Dong, Zhen Qiu and Haowen Deng via Yanko Design.

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