Taking inspiration from the floating trains that travel at incredible speeds, researchers from China have now tested Maglev cars that float above dedicated magnetic highways. Hovering 3.5 centimeters (1.4 inches) above the highway, the modified car wobbles its way through the course in what looks like a pretty uncomfortable ride.
If the technology could reach a practical level (still a rather long way off, judging by the video), the floating cars could allow for significantly more efficient travel. Maglev trains are known for their impressive efficiency and speed, with large networks across countries such as Japan offering travel up to 600 kilometers per hour (375 miles per hour).
A total of eight cars were tested, according to Chinese media outlet Xinhua, including five new energy vehicles. Two tests were performed, the slower test seen in the video, but also a much faster test with speeds of up to 230 km/h (143 mph). It’s still a far cry from current Maglev vehicles, but should the stability issues be ironed out, it will be interesting to see just how fast a car could go.
It’s unclear where the researchers plan to take it next, but the tests were authorized by the local transport authorities for studying road design and high-speed driving – for now, at least, it seems like those roads will just be filled with plain old wheeled cars, instead of floating ones.