“Source: IEEE Spectrum — May 10, 2011
Japanese prototype of a train that levitates on cushions of air (credit: Tohoku University)
A robotic prototype of a free flying ground-effect vehicle has been developed by a Japanese research group at Tohoku University.
The ground-effect vehicle takes advantage of fast-moving air and uses stubby little wings to fly just above the ground, like a maglev train. The vehicle is controlled more like an airplane than a train; the operator has to deal with pitch, roll, and yaw as well as a throttle.
The researchers are looking to use this robot to generate a dynamic model of how vehicles like these operate, which they hope to apply to a manned experimental prototype train that can travel at 200 kilometers per hour in a U-shaped concrete channel that keeps it from careening out of control.”