10/21/2011

The Aero-Train; Could Trains With Wheels Soon Go the Way of Steam Engines?

The Aero-Train is a levitating plane-like vehicle that travels 10 cm above the ground at an incredible 350km/h (220mph).  Using a method called the "ground-effect", the Aero Train literally flies inches above the ground on a cushion of air.  Powered completely by wind and solar energy, the zero-carbon demsign also significantly decreases the friction that makes more traditional rail travel inefficient.  The Aero Train is currently a prototype at the Tohoku University in Japan, but they hope it can be in public use by 2020.



In the mean time, China and Asia are already using wheel-less trains, the mag-lev.  Using a magnetic field and hovering just centimeters above the ground, the trains are able to eliminate ground friction to achieve speeds of up to 581km/h (361mph), and a next generation train is currently being developed that can hit 1000kph.