The world is slowly making the switch over to electric power, and while some mass transit systems have been powered by electricity for a while, it’s usually delivered through overhead cables that connect to the buses and trains at all times. However, Korea is moving away from overhead cables in favor of wireless power to its mass transit vehicles.
Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have ended up making major strides in powering mass transit systems over wireless protocols. The systems are called On-line Electric Vehicles (OLEV), and are actually already being tested on Korean roads today. If all goes well, they may switch to the new system permanently.
The technology uses inductive charging to wirelessly transmit electricity from the ground to coils underneath the floor of electric vehicles. The ground has embedded power cables that transmit electricity to the pick-up coils. So far during testing, engineers have recorded an 85% transmission efficiency with the cables and coils.
The technology is similar to what Utah State University is currently doing. Back in December, they introduced an inductive charging technology that involved the same wireless method, which would allows city buses to quickly charge up while waiting at a bus stop, an initiative that would cut down the amount of fuel needed drastically.