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# Hybrid maglev/hovercraft

Combine two "levitation" techniques to increase efficiency and decrease noise
 (+2) [vote for, against]

Hovercraft are, for certain people of a certain vintage, a seriously cool mode of transport. However, they are clearly also from an age where energy was expected to become "too cheap to meter" in the near future and they are also really noisy. I find the latter particularly irksome. You may also be aware that I've tried to fix this problem in various ways on here. My latest thought is to combine magnetic levitation with an air cushion.

The energy required to power a hovercraft is considerable compared to other forms of transport. However, active or passive maglevs are similar in some respects. By active maglev I mean a vehicle with linear induction motors pushing itself along electromagnetic tracks, perhaps buried, and by passive I mean a vehicle which simply has magnets in it which are pushed along by either rail-based or buried linear induction. There are also active and passive ways of producing air cushions - a surface of jets pushes an air hockey puck around whereas a fan or propellor generates an air cushion under the skirt of a vehicle.

What I suggest, then, is this: Combine both active and passive maglev and air cushion generation on roads and other surfaces, thereby reducing the energy use of an air cushion vehicle and therefore also the noise generated, particularly in built-up areas. Also, allow the vehicle to recharge batteries from the currents in the road while travelling in those areas. Make the propulsion system hybrid. Then, when the vehicle needs to leave a powered surface it will have more usable energy than it would otherwise have had, and can switch over entirely to hovercraft mode.

 — nineteenthly, Apr 04 2017

Engineering the Hover Train https://youtu.be/A5E8GHbeXw8?t=27
[not_morrison_rm, Apr 04 2017]

 "The ‘Tracked Hovertrain’, as the prototype was called, was a high-speed, wheel-less vehicle which was propelled by the force of a magnetic field."

 — not_morrison_rm, Apr 04 2017

Thanks, that's a really neat video [not]. I was aware of those but the difference with mine is that it can be "derailed" without crashing and runs on roads rather than rails.
 — nineteenthly, Apr 04 2017

And the energy supplied to the road is free while the energy supplied to the car is not why?
 — notexactly, Apr 07 2017

To be honest I have no idea why I know anything about the Hovertrain...it must have come up on hb before, at a wild guess...
 — not_morrison_rm, Apr 07 2017

 [Notexactly], I'm not sure what you mean by "free". The energy doesn't appear out of nowhere. To some extent it might be available from locally generated solar, wind or rain power but there's still infrastructure and I doubt that would be enough, so it'd be paid via road tax. It's only free at the point of delivery.

[not], I learnt about the hovertrain from a children's encyclopaedia in the 1970s I think. There were some others, including one with wheels on the track which boosted the speed of the train running over them, which come to think of it may have influenced this idea. It's also possible Tomorrow's World mentioned it.
 — nineteenthly, Apr 08 2017

Blimey, Tomorrow's World...that takes me back a bit..
 — not_morrison_rm, Apr 08 2017

Further than is fair. WIBNI this was the way they said it would be? They didn't completely misfire though.
 — nineteenthly, Apr 08 2017

//air cushion generation on roads and other surfaces// Do you really mean to have the entire road built like an air-hockey table?
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 08 2017

 It's one of various possibilities. I'd be keener on having steel rails under the surface of the road and maybe having the air-hockey option in areas where people are about to go off- road, so maybe near beaches, swamps and so on.

And actually I wonder if wind could be directly channeled under the road in some way.
 — nineteenthly, Apr 08 2017

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