30 May 2012

Volkswagen launched its "People's Car" project in 2011 to solicit ideas for futuristic visions and concepts that could one day be made into reality.  It had over 119,000 ideas posted and Volkswagen chose three concepts to highlight the 2012 Beijing Auto Show, which included the Music Car, the Smart Key and the Hover Car.

The Music Car involved an LED covered Volkswagen Beetle that changes color to match the music selections of the driver.  The Smart Key Concept provides the driver with a nine-millimeter HD touchscreen on the ignition key that monitors the status of the car and does so via satellite transmission.  Information includes the fuel level of the car and climate conditions through a 3G network.  Drivers can also monitor the car from a bird's eye view from real-time satellite transmissions.

The most interesting concept was the Hover Car, which levitates above the road and propels itself forward using electromagnetic road networks.  The hover car is a zero-emissions two-seater that "reacts to the minerals underground" to levitate, at least according the concept video.

Watch the hover car concept take flight below.

The Tech-Stew Take Home

Many of us remember reading about flying cars in Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.  It was always these types of concept vehicles that would push the envelope of creativity for their time, only to remain just a concept.  Granted we are closer to the dream of a flying car these days, but not quite like envisioned many years ago.  Its refreshing to see updated futuristic concepts for us to think about into the future.  The Smart Key certainly seems feasible at least in part in the near future.  While the idea of a hover car propelled by electromagnetic networks is certainly an interesting thought, it may never see the light of day due to too many technical challenges involved in such a "Maglev" style levitation system.  So for now we are stuck with science fiction when it comes to the traditional floating and flying car, but maybe one day scientists and engineers will unlock the keys to making such flights of fancy a reality.

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