Whatever happened to trains that float using magnets?

I was just looking at something about a new train in China, and I remembered that when I was in physics class in high school, my teacher told us once that there would one day be trains that used the opposing poles of magnets to make trains float, which would make them much more energy efficient. Is that still in the works?

I think it was a monorail…

Are there any other revolutionary transportation doohickeys in the works? Floating cars? Bikes?

They exist, and damn they’re fast. There are some disadvantages, though.

Read more here: Maglev Trains

Watch this video of someone riding a Japanese Linear Motor Maglev train.

Flying cars come and go, but there are lots of other novel technologies being worked on… unfortunately, most of them are still in the research phase or barely out of it. Stuff like scramjets, solar sails, ion propulsion, bio fuels, etc.

There are also competitions that encourage the development of transportation technologies, including the Ansari X-Prize (which aimed for low-cost, non-governmental spaceflight) and the DARPA Grand Challenge (which is aiming for cars that can drive themselves).

In terms of currently-available consumer stuff, would things like hybrid cars, the Segway, or amphibious cars count?

I recently rode the Maglev train in Shanghai and while it was fast and relatively smooth, I didn’t see a vast improvement over the TGV or other fast trains already in Europe that run on rails. It’s wasn’t nearly as smooth a ride as I had expected given the “floating” aspect of it.

Not to mention the Shanghai maglev is the fastest 8 minute ride from the international airport to the middle of owhere.

german taxpayers paid for it too.

talk of extending this to the nearby city of hangzhou but i doubt that will ever get done.

The Economist speaks of it not having the level of use anticipated.