Envision: Civilian and Military vehicles where rubber wheels are not used in the far future. All vehicles are tracked instead, tank tread style.
In order to achieve greater speeds, said vehicles use electromagnets to hover above metallic surfaces, roadways, inside star ships, stations and what have you. They can also be reversed to attach to surfaces and, where applicable, traverse walls and ceilings. This mode is basically a high speed cruise mode and not for other uses.
All roadways on planets are in lower areas to minimize the damage caused by a vehicle moving in a such a manner to go flying. Roads are cut into the ground in the countryside, in cities they would follow the same idea with bridges for pedestrians to walk over them.
Effectively there are "floatways" for high speed transit, while side roads require standard tank tread movement. However, I would like to keep the electromagnets contained to the vehicle and not have external requirements aside from a metallic surface.
Let us assume:
- Keeping the vehicle stable is not a concern
- Production cost is not an issue
- Power supply is adequate for the task
- These vehicles are not trying to achieve more than a foot above the metallic surface beneath them
- The magnet polarity can be fine tuned and/or adjusted with ease
My questions involve the following:
- Can the treads themselves be energized to produce the effect, or should the emitter be somewhere else?
- How would the vehicle move while levitating? Could the treads be used as a pulling effect on the vehicle. While pushing the vehicle up, the treads rotate pulling the vehicle in whatever direction, effectively still using the treads as the source of mobility? If not, what methods would work that involved electromagnets?
Edit: I've been looking around and wanted to share some ideas
This design shows a standard tracked approach
These magnets react with the 'track' to provide a closed loop Mag-Lev system. The tracks on the Mag-Lev system are very thick and robust, with each link fashion like a tooth with a deep root, and counts as full armour plate! Trying to shoot off the tracks on a Mag-Lev is virtually pointless, as even if the links break the track will not come off as each link is treated as an individual unit
This one theorizes a solid "track" instead
There are already maglev trains out there that operate on a pre-set path (tracks, of course), so the key would be to make this design mobile... thinking about it, you could "bend" a track into a circle so you're perpetually moving down the track like a train, except the track is moving around the wheel axis, if that makes sense at all.