Andrew Michler

Japan Unveils Levitating High-Speed Electric Aero Train

by , 05/11/11
filed under: Green Transportation, News

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Move over maglev — there’s a new high-speed train in town. Japanese engineers have just unveiled a prototype vehicle that flies rather than rolling. The design is decidedly lower tech than maglev trains — the Aero Train uses wings attached to a fuselage to literally fly inches off the ground. Dubbed a “ground-effect vehicle” the train is designed to be completely powered by wind and solar energy — making this a true zero-carbon transportation system.

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The first prototype has just been unveiled at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics in Shanghai, China. The flying vehicle is robotically controlled and uses three sets of wings and a pair of electric propellers to create lift. This video shows the craft in action — it’s a bit wobbly as the vehicle needs to control yaw, pitch and roll. Since the train hovers above the ground it benefits from a dramatic reduction in drag at higher speeds, and thus less energy is needed to maintain momentum.

The design calls for the trains to be set inside a U-shaped channel, which controls wind and helps to steady the crafts. The developers imagine a tunnel capped with solar panels that directly feeds the batteries and electric propellers. They even throw in some wind generators to demonstrate the full potential of harvesting renewable energy.

The second phase calls for the development of a manned craft that is powered by batteries. After that they are looking to create a fully autonomous two-person craft with a top speed of 200kph. Taken to its logical conclusions, the project may lead to huge floating vehicles crossing the countryside using only renewable energy and a puff of air.

+ Aero Train

Via Dvice and Spectrum

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2 Comments

  1. ajayjain May 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    i like train model. how much money you invested of made electric train.
    the types of parts is used in this model.
    plz send me…………………thank u ………..bye

  2. caeman May 12, 2011 at 8:05 am

    And the construction costs to build entirely new transport structures to support this would cost how much? Any green benefits from the ground-effect vehicle (not a train) would negated for decades.

    Actual trains are very fuel efficient for what they do. They emit less bad exhaust per ton than any gas/diesel powered car or SUV. And far greener than airplanes. Trains have been diesel-electric hybrids for decades now, long before cars learned that trick. That big diesel motor generates electricity for the traction motors underneath. At switch yards, they have smaller engines are totally electric. Here, the weight of the batteries is a positive feature, giving the train more ability to push/pull heavy loads.

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