Is only going up in the elevator getting you down? Not for much longer: ThyssenKrupp, the German steel and engineering company, has announced that it’s building the next generation of elevators that will use magnetic levitation to travel up, down and side-to-side at speed in the buildings of the future. Maglev technology, used by some high-speed trains, uses large magnetic fields to keep the moving object from touching the tracks along which it runs. The result is reduced friction and high speeds, even with a relatively small driving force applied.
ThyssenKrupp AG (TKA) has developed the world’s first cable-free system that uses magnets to propel elevators through buildings. The system, which uses the same magnetic levitation — or maglev — technology used in some high-speed trains, can move passengers horizontally as well as vertically and allows multiple elevators to pass through a single shaft, the German manufacturer said today in a statement. Cabins run in a loop traveling at 5 meters (16 feet) a second, meaning passengers wait only 15 to 30 seconds for the next ride. Each year in New York, office workers spend a cumulative 16.6 years waiting for elevators, and 5.9 years riding in them, Andreas Schierenbeck, chief executive officer of ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG, said in the statement. That shows “how imperative it is to increase the availability.”