An automobile engineer’s ultimate dream is to create a vehicle that offsets the impact of friction caused by the platform it runs on. More than a century after the first four-wheeler came into existence, the dream is inching towards reality as Japanese researchers have developed what is known as ground-effect vehicle. The prototype of the vehicle that moves inches above the ground was unveiled by Yusuke Sugahara and his team from Japan’s Tohoku University. They showed off their invention at the recently held IEEE International Conference on Robotics in Shanghai, China.
The researchers employed the principles of plane technology and used number of plane wings and fast moving air to levitate the vehicle above the ground. The technology has far reaching consequences in the sense that recurring cost of running the vehicle will be minimized since the friction element is somewhat reduced. As a result, the vehicle can easily cruise at a speed of 150 miles an hour.
There are plans to transform Ground Effect Vehicle into the Aero Train , a high speed train, that can run in a U shaped tunnel achieving the speed of 124 miles an hour. Nevertheless, there are still some issues like wind drag between the tracks and bottom of the vehicle that makes it less efficient. Another thing is that at high speed, the model seems to wobble as is apparent from the video. But with time, these anomalies will certainly be rectified and next stage of experiment to use manned vehicle will begin.