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华体会最新-从磁悬浮滑板到会飞的汽车 这家创业公司在下一盘很大的棋

本文摘要:Last fall, small startup Arx Pax nearly broke the internet with a Kickstarter campaign that many thought was too good to be true—it was building a real-life hoverboard, straight out of Back to the Future. The ten Hendo boards being offered


Last fall, small startup Arx Pax nearly broke the internet with a Kickstarter campaign that many thought was too good to be true—it was building a real-life hoverboard, straight out of Back to the Future. The ten Hendo boards being offered (for $10,000 each) sold out swiftly, in part thanks to a video of skate legend Tony Hawk zipping across a copper-plated halfpipe, a half-inch off the ground.去年秋天,小创业公司Arx Pax在Kickstarter上的一次众筹活动完全爆炸互联网,其项目真是冷笑话到逆天——它要研发一款像电影《回到未来》里那样的,确实的漂浮滑板。更加让爱好者可怕的是,滑板界传奇人物托尼o霍克用它在镀铜U型场地上,演出了一段悬空半英寸的减速视频。

就这样,10块漂浮滑板以1万美元一块的高价被迅速抢购一空。But the hoverboard is just a first step for Arx Pax. According to CEO Greg Henderson, the technology that makes the hoverboard possible—a new kind of magnetic levitation that Arx Pax labels Magnetic Field Architecture—has wide-ranging, transformative implications.不过对Arx Pax而言,漂浮滑板只是他们迈进的第一步。

该公司首席执行官格雷格o亨德森讲解称之为,构建漂浮滑板的技术是一种全新的磁悬浮手段,Arx Pax将其称为“磁场架构”,它将给许多领域带给革新。Arx Pax’s system is potentially much less expensive than existing maglev systems, which rely on complex electromagnetic systems in both vehicle and tracks and can cost tens of millions of dollars per mile.现有的磁悬浮系统必须同时在运营物体和轨道上加装简单的电磁波系统,每英里的成本有可能低约数千万美元,而Arx Pax的新系统很有可能要低廉一大截。


Despite its widely acknowledged advantages in safety, speed, and efficiency in transit applications, governments and transit authorities have been extremely slow to adopt maglev due to cost. In a 2012 report, the Federal Transit Administration found that these costs, which it characterized as “intimidating,” were a major barrier to maglev adoption in the U.S.尽管磁悬浮在运输中安全性、较慢、高效的优点获得了普遍共识,但由于成本问题,政府和交通运输部门在使用磁悬浮技术上进展十分较慢。在2012年的一份报告中,美国联邦运输管理局找到,高昂的成本是美国使用磁悬浮技术的主要障碍,他们用了“可怕”一词来形容这项花费。

But Arx Pax’s magnetic engine is entirely contained within the object being levitated, and the only required infrastructure is a conductive surface, such as the copper-lined halfpipe used to demo the hoverboard. This means systems of any scale could be laid quickly and cheaply. Even more impressive, the surface can be multi-use—for instance, a roadway consisting of a layer of asphalt over copper could accommodate both maglev and conventional vehicles.但Arx Pax的磁力引擎几乎被移往在漂浮物体中,所需的基础设施只是一块能导电的平面,比如在漂浮滑板展示视频中用于的镀铜U型场地。这意味著人们需要以便宜的成本很快架设各种规格的漂浮系统。

更加令人敬佩的是,这种平面还可以做到多种用途。比如说,在镀铜表面铺成一层沥青,这种道路就能同时反对磁悬浮汽车和传统汽车。The Arx Pax engine can also generate thrust and directional control magnetically, so it doesn’t need a track for guidance. One of Arx Pax’s prototypes is a scaled-down hover vehicle called the Manta Ray, which zigs and zags as neatly as a remote control car. According to Henderson, this points towards “a new type of vehicle, a hybrid vehicle that can drive conventionally, or can hover . . . [with] all the freedom of a car and all the efficiency of a train.”Arx Pax研发的系统还自带引擎,可以利用磁力产生发动机,并掌控方向,所以它并不需要铺设特定轨道。

该公司研发了一款叫作Manta Ray的微缩版漂浮汽车,它能灵活地以“之”字形弯道,就像遥控汽车一样。亨德森指出,它可以发展成“一种新型的汽车,使用混合动力,既可以按照常规方式行经,也可以漂浮行经,兼备汽车的灵活性和火车的高效。”But this futuristic dream of roads full of flying cars faces some obstacles. Arx Pax’s hover engine is power-hungry, needing 40 watts of energy to levitate one kilogram. According to James Weiler, former VP of engineering for longtime maglev developer Magnemotion, “40 watts per kilogram is a killer in terms of transportation.” By contrast, the M3 maglev system that Magnemotion piloted was able to levitate over 10,000 pounds with a hundred watts.然而,让漂浮汽车上路这一充满著未来感的梦想仍面对不少障碍。


Arx Pax的“漂浮引擎”十分耗电量,每高举一公斤的物体都必须40瓦的功率。老牌磁悬浮开发公司Magnemotion的前任工程副总裁詹姆斯o韦勒回应:“每公斤花费40瓦功率,这在交通运输领域是可怕的缺失。”相比之下,Magnemotion试验的M3磁悬浮系统高举多达1万磅的重量仅有须要100瓦功率。

And all of the Arx Pax’s energy has to come from on-board batteries. “Batteries are getting better,” says Weiler, “But you probably need an order of magnitude improvement” for the kind of hybrid levitating car Henderson envisions. The Hendo hoverboard offers a ride time of only 7 minutes.而且,Arx Pax系统不能从装载电池中提供能量。韦勒说道:“电池质量的确于是以显得更加好,不过有可能还必须作出海量改良”才能构建亨德森愿景中的那类混合动力磁悬浮汽车。Hendo漂浮滑板也不能保持7分钟的减速时间。The scalability and flexibility of Arx Pax’s technology may be its greatest competitive advantage. Though the company is building the Hendo hoverboard itself, its plan going forward is to primarily license its technology.但Arx Pax这项技术仅次于的竞争优势也许在于其可扩展性和灵活性。

尽管公司正在自行生产Hendo漂浮滑板,但他们接下来想许可其他公司用于这项技术。“Our goal,” says Henderson, “is to put this technology in the hands of folks to come up with new solutions to problems we don’t even know about.” Arx Pax sold about 700 of its developer kits, The White Box, through its Kickstarter campaign. One such solution that Henderson mentions is hovering carts for clean room applications, where wheels and their moving parts are sources of contamination.亨德森回应:“我们的目标是——将这项技术转交那些能为我们不理解的问题想要出有全新解决方案的人。”Arx Pax通过在Kickstarter上的众筹,卖出了大约700套取名为The White Box的开发工具。亨德森提及,于是以研发的一个解决方案是:可用作洗手房间的漂浮手推车,它能解决问题传统手推车上轮子和活动部件都是污染源的问题。

Henderson says that Arx Pax has already entertained buyouts from larger companies, but chooses to remain in control. “We didn’t want to end up on someone’s shelf, bought up or stifled, [with] this technology limited in some way.”亨德森回应,早已有许多大公司无意并购Arx Pax,不过他们还是要求自己保有公司控制权。“我们想被放在某公司的货架上,被并购或被掌控,更加想让这项技术受到任何人为的容许。