A car equipped with magnetic levitation (maglev) technology has been successfully tested on a highway in China, according to local media.
The 2.8-tonne vehicle hovered 35 millimetres above the road surface, powered by electromagnetic force and guided by pre-installed conducting rails.
The test, carried out by researchers at the Jiaotong University of Chengdu, aimed to calculate the feasibility of adopting maglev technology in this manner on a broader scale.
Maglev cars could significantly increase the lifespan of the vehicles, while also reducing energy consumption and increasing their range.
A dedicated lane for maglev cars could also offer safety benefits and be coordinated in a way to prevent traffic jams.
China has become a leader in maglev transportation in recent years, having unveiled the first maglev train in Shanghai in 2004.
The Shanghai Transrapid is the oldest commercial maglev system still in operation and is currently the fastest electric train in the world with a cruising speed of 431kph (268mph).
This record could soon be broken after China unveiled a high-speed train last year capable of speeds of up to 600kph.
Chinese manufacturer CCRC Qingdao said the train would create a “three-hour transportation circle” between major metropolitan hubs, with the 1,068km journey between Beijing and Shanghai taking just 2.5 hours.
The train could also close the “speed gap” between high-speed rail and flying, while also reducing the time it takes to get from one city centre to another compared to plane journeys.
In the maglev car road tests completed this week, the specially-adapted vehicles reached speeds of 230kph – more than twice the speed limit on China National Highway roads.