I think it is not a laughing matter. The technology is viable and like the first flight of right brothers, such concepts look very funny at the beginning but I feel such vehicles can become a serious business may be years down the line
Its a concept car, like the first VW prototype which cost $100,000 plus in today dollars. First concept, then development, then prototype manufacturing run, the et. until 20 years later they are cheap, safe commodity's. Then we compare them to low cost wheeled transportation.
So let's just say we deploy a large number of these, what does the Newtonian physics say about the interplay between these vehicles (and the fields that certainly cannot extend downward solely under the vehicle), our underground metal pipes (surely they would be vibrated silly? Like gas pipes or tell me we wouldnt need those anymore?), and electronic devices on the street? Seems to me that the electronic thermal noise would override a lot of our current radios. Would the concept of the street then need another 25 years of construction to embedded a grid system to cover mineral depleted soils?
Very interesting, reminds me of reading Scott Westerfeld's series.....
Heh. That's the magic of maglev, at least theoretically.
Imagine starting from way up off the ground, and letting the car drop toward earth. That verical motion is used to generate electricity (e.g. coils on car, powerful magnets on ground).
Now, use the electricity generated by the coils to create an opposing magnetic field, to keep the car floating.
If there's no resistance in the coils, no wasted energy in heat, in theory this should be self sustaining.
Thinking about this in terms of Newtonian physics, if the car is just sitting still and floating, no work is being done, therefore no energy expended. So yeah, it could take less energy to keep it afloat than to move against air friction.
Weird stuff. In practice, however, it doesn't come for free.
How could it possibly take less energy to levitate than to roll? The energy to run the maglev coils has to come from somewhere. Sure, rolling friction consumes energy, but so does opposing air resistance. Wouldn't you need energy to maintain stability and not rotate in some random direction?
Not to mention that when it comes time to stop, friction is your friend, not your enemy.
I'm not really feeling the future with this one. It would require enormous resources to deploy this concept just in urban environments alone, and does nothing whatsoever to address traffic congestion. Call me when the VTOL flying car arrives. 30 vertical lanes of clear traffic - no potholes, no waiting.
Potentially more foolish, of course, if it ends up depleting the natural resources even faster than what we have now. I think that was his point.
That floating requires energy. Ideally, the electricity needed would be generated mostly by the vehicle's vertical motions, however that's ideal (e.g. it requires superconductivity to come close to this ideal). In practical fact, electricity has to be generated to keep all those vehicles "afloat" that the use of wheels and tires can avoid.
And the amount of infrastructure needed itself is an expense of resources. It ain't free. You need to install cabling everywhere, roads, parking lots, garages, etc. That's a whole lot of copper, for instance.
It's a cool concept, but that doesn't mean it is practical. That's why I was interested in seeing the details.