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.
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.
- 30 Comments >
- 1 Comments >
- 94 Comments >
12 Comments >
FDA finds majority of herbal supplements at GNC, Walmart, Walgreens, and Target don't contain what they claim - instead cheap fillers like wheat and soy powder
183 Comments >
19-Year-Old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From the World's Oceans
- 119 Comments >
- 30 Comments >
- 39 Comments >
- 2002 Comments >
411 Comments >
BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win a HP Pavilion dv6 Laptop and Green Prize Package (Worth $1155!)
- 391 Comments >
- 366 Comments >
- 351 Comments >
284 Comments >
LAST CHANCE: Enter to Win a Voltaic Laptop-Charging Solar Backpack Filled With Green School Supplies (Worth $500)!
281 Comments >
GIVEAWAY: Enter to Win a Sloan AQUS Grey Water Toilet System That Recycles Your Sink Water (Worth $189)!
- 247 Comments >
240 Comments >
LAST CHANCE: Enter Inhabitat's Back To School Contest to Win $250+ of Green Goodies Including a Voltaic Solar Backpack (Worth $129)
- 229 Comments >
- 221 Comments >
- 187 Comments >
WINDOWHOP It's easy to get depressed when your work schedule has you getting less sun than Edward Cullen (you've got the sickly pallor to match and it's not nearly as sexy on you). If you're lucky enough to at least have a window in your workspace, openREAD MORE >
Cutting back on your energy usage is one of the best ways to bring down your electricity bill. But did you know that making simple changes to not just your wattage consumption but the way your home retains and expels air can dramatically transform the wayREAD MORE >
Did you know that there are wolves living near you in almost every state in the country? Sadly most of these wolves are not living in the wild, but in wolf sanctuaries, which are conservation organizations set up to protect them and help grow their populationREAD MORE >
Namba Parks was conceived when Osaka Stadium closed down, presenting a great redevelopment opportunity for a new commercial district right next to the Namba Train Station, which is just one stop away from Kansai Airport. Since it's one of the first placesREAD MORE >
Top image: A child is put to work at a militia-run mine in Watsa. © Marcus Bleasdale/National Geographic Captured during a 2004 visit to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, Bleasdale's images "tell the story of the country's mineral resourceREAD MORE >
You've all heard the tired mantras about changing your lightbulbs and recycling at home in order to save the planet - are you yawning yet? Many consumers think that going green is a gesture of self-sacrifice that often comes at great expense and inconvenienceREAD MORE >
BANANAS You might have heard that bananas are favored by athletes because they contain potassium and it's that same reason that makes them great hangover cures. When you're hungover, your body has lost a lot of potassium that needs to be replenished, so eatingREAD MORE >
Images © Graham King “The shopping cart tree symbolizes both generosity and abundance, as well as acknowledging those less fortunate where their whole world may be housed in a cart. We see shopping carts every day and take them for granted. IndividuallyREAD MORE >
TIP 1: Wrap Your Home in Insulation - "The More, The Better!" Proper insulation is probably the most important factor you can control in creating an energy-efficient home. I always say insulation is like chocolate, the more you have, the better! On average,READ MORE >
While conjuring up comfort in the home seems like a basic principle, it’s a far more complex process for architect & remodeling guru Sarah Susanka, who believes that comfort can significantly influence the sustainability of your personal abode. WithREAD MORE >
Two architects, Jos Burger and Wouter Keijzer of BK. Architecten, in charge of the renovation of the old church decided to preserve the atmosphere of the existing place with a spatial intervention that preserves its historical value. The three new floors wereREAD MORE >
For centuries, the Dutch have manipulated the landscape to move water away from their dwellings. Instead of battling the elements, Netherlands-based firm Waterstudio just announced plans to construct the world's first floating apartment complex in 2014! TheREAD MORE >