When you think of a basic, affordable vehicle that everyone can buy, a hover car doesn't immediately come to mind. But that's what emerged from the People's Car Project launched by Volkswagen in China last year.
Volkswagen, which translates to "people's car" in English, challenged China residents to submit their ideas of what the car of the future should look like. The company sifted through more than 119,000 ideas submitted to the project Web site and compiled three concepts, including the Hover Car.
The Hover Car is a two-seater zero-emissions vehicle that hovers above the ground and travels along electromagnetic road networks. It can detect other vehicles on the road while navigating China's congested traffic centers, and its small footprint makes it easy to park.
Electromagnetic highways where vehicles can be operated autonomously and continuously powered have been floated by other automotive designers. Stanford researchers are working on electric highway technology that will solve the wireless-charging part of the equation, and it's only a matter of time until we're all relaxing behind the wheel of a self-driving car. So maybe the Hover Car isn't so far-fetched after all. Whether or not it could be affordable enough for the masses is the real question.