"Flying" trains and cars that drive themselves are just some of the things that are being developed with the aid of military technologies originally developed for combat use by the National University of Defense Technology, or NUDT.
Military technology for civilian use can improve people's lives, said Wang Jianwei, political commissar of the NUDT.
For example, the medium-low-speed maglev that is planned for Beijing will use an advanced control technology originally developed for the military by the university, which is under the dual supervision of China's ministries of defense and education.
"If maglev was widely adopted by Chinese cities, there would be much less traffic congestion," said Li Jie, an expert in maglev studies at the university. "When I was a college student in the 1990s, I spent nearly 20 hours returning to my hometown in East China's Shandong province from Hunan. We could only dream of technology like this then."
"We are using such advanced technology to enable the trains to 'fly' safely, quickly and quietly," added Li's colleague, Wu Jun.
Wu said maglev lines with an operating speed of 120 kilometers per hour cost about 300 million yuan ($ 47.6 million) per kilometer, half that of subways, and they are much easier to maintain and repair than urban railways.
Currently, China's only maglev line in commercial operation connects the Longyang Road Metro station in Pudong with Pudong International Airport. It takes less than eight minutes to cover the 30-km route.
Another maglev line is planned for western Beijing, to ease the severe congestion that plagues the capital despite government efforts to improve traffic flow by building new roads and tightly controlling the purchase of private cars.
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