Back in 2011, Volkswagen asked the people of China to submit what they thought the car of the future should look like. They called it, “The People’s Car Project”. After all, their name “Volkswagen” literally translates to “people’s car” in both German and Chinese.
After sifting through over a hundred thousand submissions, they narrowed it down to three finalists. One of them was this Hover Car, which looks like it came straight out of the movies:
Created by student Wang Jia, The Hover Car is a zero-emission vehicle that can travel by using a magnetic force to keep it suspended several feet off the ground. In order for it to work, though, electromagnetic mineral strips need to be embedded underneath the roads (kind of like how maglev trains function).
Another cool feature about the Hover Car is the Safety Sensor. It moves the vehicle based off the traveling speed and distance of surrounding cars, and if it detects anything in the way, it will brake automatically to prevent collisions.
And with its small footprint, the two-seating pod is easier to park than regular vehicles. It’s operated by using a joystick, and the dashboard info – like your speed, mileage, and engine cues – are all displayed digitally. The car also has an autopilot function, and voice recognition that can be activated on command.
It’s all still just a concept for now – but seeing as that it uses technology that we already know exists (which we also saw in Google Self-Driving Cars) – it’s only a matter of time before we’re all flying on down to work.
Volkswagen was so impressed by Wang Jia’s idea, they produced this 3-minute video to showcase the levitating pods. In the clip, you can see her parents in a CGI-version of the car, zipping around the crowded streets of her hometown, Chengdu:
Chengdu is known in particular for having an abundance of minerals underground that could act as electromagnetic roads.
It might seem a little far-fetched, but groundbreaking ideas like this may not be as far into the future as you may think. Automotive designers all over the globe have been in favor of electromagnetic highways. Even researchers at Stanford University have been designing an all-electric highway that could wirelessly charge electric cars as they cruise down the road.
Jay Leno personally interviewed Wang Jia about her Hover Car concept – along with others from the People’s Car Project – on this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage:
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