Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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flying cars yay

we've all (i hope) seen the fifth element
  (+8, -20)(+8, -20)(+8, -20)
(+8, -20)
  [vote for,

basically, the earth has magnetic forces, thats how compasses work. but, how about using a large electromagnet under a car to repel those forces, ie it would hover, and with a series of propellers around the car, the thing would have brilliant manuoverability. such as, when you want to go higher, you increase the magnetic force, and when say, you want to park, you lower it gradually onto the ground. plus there would be very little resistance (if designed well), and so v. high speeds can be accomplished especially if small rockets were usaed instead of fans or propellers

you'd just have to make sure that there are no possabilities of the car flipping over, because


hover_dude, Jun 21 2001

Moller International http://www.moller.com
They make flying cars [timbong, Jun 21 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

What we CAN ACTUALLY do.... http://www.niac.usr...ract/320Zubrin.html
Magnetic fields permeate the Solar System. [Vernon, Jun 21 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

http://www.moller.com/skycar/operation/ Didn't cars look like that in 1920? [postseti, Jul 06 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The Flying Car http://www.viewaske...leno/flyingcar.html
Sep 25 2003: Short film by Kevin Smith, starring Randall and Dante from Clerks, offers some insights about why we don't have flying cars yet. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Flying Car on eBay, only $3.5m http://www.bitterwa...e-the-car-keys/3522
[hippo, Dec 05 2008]

Ultralights http://images.googl...=UTF-8&q=ultralight
(compare to the $3 million skycar) [quantum_flux, Dec 05 2008]

"Roadable Aircraft" http://www.terrafugia.com/
I'm surprised nobody linked this site to this Idea yet. This flying car is either being produced now, or is about to be produced, for whoever wants to buy one. (It has nothing to do with this Idea's use of magnetism, though...) [Vernon, Nov 30 2010]


       "that's how compasses work", "increase the magnetic force", where do I start, [hover_dude]? (And is there any likelihood that hover_dude will be a broad topic writer/annotater?) Find the relationship between magnetic forces and electricity (in any decent Physics textbook) and see the kind of power you'd have to generate to make even the lightest kiddie-size aluminium bicycle 'hover'. Scale up for weight of standard car. Add people. Go back to drawing board, do not collect $200.

very little resistance to what? I assume you think that air resistance isn't significant? Again, in your Physics textbook, find models for air resistance as proportional to speed.

Compared to those, the problem of flipping over is easy. Have magnetic-field-generating coil (and propellers etc.) situated on the outside of a spherical bubble, inside which the 'car' is an independent bubble probably rolling on ballbearings. It'd be a fun ride.
lewisgirl, Jun 21 2001

       [HD] Run while you can...they'll be here shortly.
Reverend D, Jun 21 2001

       Too late. Welcome to your baptism.
Reverend D, Jun 21 2001

       [ws] Now let's give the boy a chance. Let's say this was possible. Let's hypothesize that we can yank out every man made object that's been stuck in the ground, re-align mineral deposits on a global scale and break most of Newton's laws. This might work.
Reverend D, Jun 21 2001

       Wouldn't life be so much better if we could all use The Force to get to/from work? Yay. (waugs, do you think 'yay' could be Friday's SCSClub word?)
lewisgirl, Jun 21 2001

       forget about the non-workability of this idea for a second. any flying car idea gives me the willies. everyday we hear about car crashes on the road, and people being injured and killed. if crashes are a daily occurence now, imagine what it will be like with cars crashing 50-100 feet overhead.   

mihali, Jun 21 2001

       True. Currently, if my car stalls it doesn't plummet 500 feet.   

Reverend D, Jun 21 2001

       If strong electrical currents could be generated in water, then _maybe_ these flying cars could even float on the sea.
lubbit, Jun 21 2001

       Hey, did anyone else notice that "yay" spelled backwards is still "yay"? Hmm...   

       Is the problem with this idea solely one of magnitude, as lewisgirl's first note implies? That is, assuming you could generate unlimited power for this, would it work, or is there a flaw in the way the Earth's magnetism is being viewed here?
PotatoStew, Jun 21 2001, last modified Jun 22 2001

       I actually do think it really is trying to suggest a mechanism which just happens to be completely unworkable. It's actually less bogus than plenty of other ideas around; it's unworkable for quantitative reasons, not qualitative reasons.   

       That said, I'm all for the deletion of ideas premised on bad (or miscalculated) science.
egnor, Jun 22 2001

       As I understand it, this sort of levitation is possible, just incredibly impractical. (It seems to be occasionally proposed as a flight method for UFOs, too.)
wiml, Jun 22 2001

       If the Earth's magnetic field was many orders of magnitude greater than it is...
hippo, Jun 22 2001

       what if we had a couple of nuclear power plants pumping current round the earths core - that might help increase the field strength...
RobertKidney, Jun 22 2001

       wouldnt the car need to change polarity for long distances, say from the iceland to south africa, where the polarity of the earths magnetic field changes
krea, Jun 22 2001

       Do you mean that point over the equator where the whole magnetic field flips round? That's the best part of the ride! (Aside from all the other high(ish) frequency field variations, which would be rather like driving as a reasonably large earthquake continually rocks the ground.) Of course, there are those pesky magnetic reversals every few thousand years. All the electrics and stuff in your car will be completely buggered. I would say I'll remain content with driving on roads, but if you're all going to be flying above me and stalling and dropping onto me, I'd rather stay at home lying on my driveway wearing white and singing in tppcppc to my randomly translating dog.
lewisgirl, Jun 22 2001

       Vehicles? A bit too ambitious, I'd say. Dinner plates though... Now you're talking profit margin.   

       He who yays last...
The Military, Jun 22 2001

       flying cars that use jets are being made check out the link
timbong, Aug 17 2001

Pallex, Aug 17 2001

       ... of course you'd only be able to travel along magnetic force lines, and one of those could be miles from your house. Oh yes - and all the flying cars would have to be the same kind of magnetic monopole so that they didn't stick together...
hippo, Aug 17 2001

       I still like this idea and am the proud owner of its only + vote... Im sure that all of these minor technical problems can be overcome...
RobertKidney, Aug 17 2001

The Military, Aug 18 2001

benfrost, Aug 18 2001

The Military, Aug 18 2001

       Sure, there are a bunch of problems but i reckon they can, and will, be sorted out. The 'cars' don't necessarily have to be, say, 500 ft in the air, and could hover just above the track - which would be much easier to use than the earth's field lines.   

       Even better would be if it was in a tunnel.   

Yoda of Dagobah, Sep 02 2001

       For sheer coolness factor, flying cars have always been hard to beat (all those glorious McCall paintings and sci-fi magazine covers) but hard to implement. The aviation industry expected the GIs returning from WWII to buy private planes, so they tooled up cars that converted to planes and vice versa, but the market never materialized. Most ex-GIs settled for tailfins. Coolness aside, I don't figure that folks would drive any better in 3 dimensions than they do in 2 (though that might stimulate a market for underground homes...)
whatsbruin, Sep 02 2001

       Flying cars, indeed. How silly.   

       Now skybikes on the other hand... definitely yay.
Guy Fox, Sep 03 2001

       I get this image of drag-racing airborne jet-skis buzzing the neighborhood. (Fortunately, I've turned the sound off.)
whatsbruin, Sep 06 2001

       Flying cars -- yay, yay, yay, YAY! I love cars. I love airplanes. (I love bicycles, too!) If one of you brainiacs can figure out a way to make flying car, I'd spend my last penny on it and head for Victoria Falls!
danrue, Sep 06 2001

       What exactly is the difference between "flying cars" and helicopters or airplanes anyway?
PotatoStew, Sep 06 2001

       Year-end closeout. 2001s are already flying off the lot at Crazy Ray's Deals on Wheels.
The Military, Sep 06 2001

       PotatoStew: Cars that fly can use a road. Airplanes and helicopters can't.   

       Some of the things called cars bend or break this, of course.
StarChaser, Sep 08 2001

       The Earth's magnetic field is too feeble, compared to the planetary gravity well, for us to do this trick at ground level. But in space, gravity is feeble, too....see the link!
Vernon, Sep 09 2001

       If this worked wouldn't all our magnets just fly off into space?
pottedstu, Oct 30 2001

       Another probable problem would be the effects of the reverse polarity millions of these cars would do to the earth....YIKES!!!
dragons_rider0, Oct 30 2001

       I suspect that a magnetic field strong enough to lift a car would also rip the haemoglobin clean out of your blood. Kind of like DVT on long-haul flights but you'd need much thicker socks.
gravelpit, Oct 31 2001

       what you need to do is have the standard flying car idea of two magnets with the poles facing each other underneath the car, and then on top you will have the same arrangement. This should mean that the car will suspended in the middle and be able to fly along under some sort of rocket power. Of course the restrictions with this sort of flying method means that your car can only really follow set routes, like a train or bus. Oh well.
roisin, Oct 31 2001

       Gravelpit.... DVT has to do with sitting still in cramped conditions for 12 hours.... and nothing to do with magnetism. (pressure may be involved a bit too, but deffinatly no magnetism...)
CasaLoco, Nov 01 2001

       [CasaLoco] Yes yes, I know but both are circulatory problems associated with flying transport and I was kind of making a joke. Sheesh.
gravelpit, Nov 01 2001

       Does this mean that if I add even more magnets to it, I can have a hover fridge?!??
mike100, Jan 28 2002

       Bad news to people with pace makers and braces. *pictures car flying by with some poor geek stuck to the back*
YourPants, Jan 29 2002

       Flying car technology already exisists, in many forms. The reason it is not done is simply trafic laws would be to difficult to enforce, just look what happened on spetember 11 imagine if everyone had flying cars. Even if magnots are whats keeping the vehicle aloft you would still need an engine for propulsion, think about the cost for fuel. People talk constantly about flying cars being the future of of transportation, however I think the ultimate future of transportation that will replace the car as the main unit of transport will be pipelines. Simmilar but different to the device that was in the movie "Running man"
wood2coal, Jan 29 2002

neelandan, Jan 29 2002

       Not a whole lot. There's been a few people taking the piss, one or two taking the idea seriously, and [Vernon]'s shortest post ever, but apart from that it's a bit same-old, same-old.
angel, Jan 29 2002

       Poor unfortunate HoverDude.
LarsHomestead, Jun 23 2002

       Hover surfboard? Yay! but seriously, if you had a munting great stereo, with associated speaker magnets, would the car handle differently depending on the type or speed of music being played? Me, I like my D+Bass, would that be a problem?
dijit, Jun 23 2002

       Forget the car, I want a hover fridge!!! We might actually clean under those things for once.
sartep, May 02 2003

       Actually guys, there is a working maglev train in Japan. They developed it a few years ago and it's still in testing for feasability, but it does successfully travel on a magnetic cushion for miles.   

       The track is a slightly u-shaped trough (spelling) of electro magnets. The car sits in that trough on non-ferrous stuts with wheels. The car gets energy from the track. Basically the car spins the wheels and gets up to speed. The wheels then retract into the car and the train rotates it's electromagnets reward and coasts on the momentum of it's speed and the force of the magnetic repulsion. The shape of the track ensure that's both sides of the trough push on the car equally and keep it centered. for banking you simply bank the trough slightly.   

       I've seen the video of it operating in tests on the news when I lived in Japan. Very slick.
mcgarym, Sep 25 2003

       Ah, here's an article on it in Japan Today. Check it out.   


       The Japanese are all about mass transit and their train transportation department develops the fastest trains in the world. The maglev is now the fastest.
mcgarym, Sep 25 2003

       My bad. Monorail style maglev. The track is a T that the train overlaps. The wheel speed up and retraction and then floating on magnets was correct. Do a search in google for +Japan +maglev +train and you'll find enough to give you the details.
mcgarym, Sep 25 2003

       In the first anno on this page, [lewisgirl] wrote: //And is there any likelihood that hover_dude will be a broad topic writer// Well, I notice that on the very next day he came up with coke can caps. Apology due, methinks. Poor [hover_dude]
Fishrat, Sep 25 2003

       There woldnt be much crashing. If you had it so the bumpers all repeled the other cars away from them(no more tailgating)at a certain distance they wouldnt hit you. It would be tricky because youd have to adjust it. The "repelabumper" could increase in strength as you increase in speed. Since if your going 80 you shouldnt be very close to your fellow driver. There would still be a problem with generating the neccesary power. And it would probably be best if the bottom of the car used permanent magnets to hover.
Negrodomous, Mar 24 2004

       Hmm, how do you make a planet's magnetic field stronger... And which pole combo (N-N or S-S) will generate the most lift for the car. Also, how will it go forward? A propeller? Clearly, it can only go up about 5 feet. Just enough so a young mechanic can go under and fix a problem with it. A propeller large enough to make it go forward would chop the ground. But, if a large powerful cluster of magnets on the back of the car would tilt on an 45 degree angle (electrically), that would repel the back of the car diagonally, making it go forward. The more you press the gas pedal, the more it tilts and the faster you go.   

       Well, at least 1 problem in that annotation has a solution...
croissantz, Aug 30 2004

       Perhaps if you created your own magnetic field instead of mooching off the Earth's, this might actually work (see Maglev Train).   

       Also, no thanks to the gods of the Neanderthals for giving us humans such a flimsy Earthern magnetic field to work with, or we'd be doing this kind of thing a long time ago! The science of electromagnetism and electricity would be considered ancient history by now, much on the same level as building floating wooden ships or economic trade markets. Hmmm, I wonder why SETI never factored magnetic field strengths or modeled the Electric Cosmos into their Drake Equations? (Actually, it's really just because of the vast amounts of uncertainty involved in astronomy and space exploration, the Drake Equation is just their ticket to recieve federal funding, but for the price of a few street legal helicopters with all wheel suspensions on them, well, maybe that's not so bad :|   

       [krea], the polarity issue could be resolved with a tripod of adjustable solenoids (if it was an issue, but impracticality due to weak Earth field strength cancels that issue out long before it can even become an issue). I do wonder if maybe aluminum foil or maybe a lightweight ceramic can be hovered at the North (or is it south?) Pole if it is cryogenically frozen to superconducting temperatures? Anyhow, because you technically thought of this halfbaked idea of launching or hovering things at the poles a few years before I did (in college), [Hover_Dude] .... [+]   

       Wow [Hippo], a flying Skycar that didn't take 30 years of government grants and 4 lightweight ethanol fueled wankel engines to build (moller m400) is actually being sold on Ebay for a few million? Good find, my immediate reaction is, "what's wrong with the car" though, something must not be right on that particular Skycar in the link then if it's being sold on Ebay. Damn, I'd definantly buy it if I had the doe, er, maybe I'd just buy an ultralight and put some wheels on it to save some millions of dollars in doe instead.   

       Gosh, so much to say about the flying car, by the way, I love that Kevin Smith bit [Krelnik] :)
quantum_flux, Dec 05 2008

       [-] just for the "yay". There is not an appropriate symbol for my feelings regarding the idea.
MikeD, Dec 05 2008

       might be able to do something at the poles: along the lines of a ramscoop but upside-down or something. A honkin' big magnetic field covering 100's of square miles, repulsed by the N or S polarization of the N or S pole.   

       I like the "yay": helps break up the monotony of "yet another flying car idea"   

       dumb idea though.
FlyingToaster, Nov 27 2010

neelandan, Nov 30 2010

       Halfbaked in 1726 - Gulliver's Travels. It was a flying island, and used permanent magnets, but the concept was the same. Yea.
spidermother, Nov 30 2010


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