The auto maker is trying to get its vehicles off the ground -- just enough to reduce friction.
Toyota is researching a vehicle that's somewhere between a flying car and a hovercraft -- the hover car.
In a recent interview at Bloomberg's Next Big Thing Summit in San Francisco, Toyota Managing Officer Hiroyoshi Yoshiki mentioned that Toyota has been studying the idea of a land-based vehicle that can get “a little bit away” from the ground to reduce friction. Yoshiki would not elaborate on how far along research was, or if the company planned on ever bringing the technology to market.
Hover technology today is too expensive to be within the reach of most. A hover golf cart can be had for $58,000, and the hover boards promised by Back to the Future 2 don’t seem to be forthcoming. In 2011, a Chinese design student imagined a Volkswagen hovercraft car, but such a vehicle doesn’t actually exist.
Though most assumed the Toyota official was referring to hover technology, it’s also possible Toyota is looking into magnetic levitation tech like that used by personal rapid transit developers like SkyTran. Like hover technology, magnetic levitation reduces friction while allowing a vehicle to travel along a guiderail.
In other Toyota news, a Toyota 2000 GT, a vintage sports car valued at more than $1 million (in part because only 351 were built between 1967 and 1970), was recently destroyed when an old tree fell on the car in Japan, crushing it flat. The driver suffered minor injuries.