Track switching for a magnetically levitated transportation system and method
Abstract A magnetically levitated transportation system employs permanent magnet rails along a guideway that interact with permanent magnets on a vehicle. The rails are optimized to reduce magnetic mass and cost of materials, while maximizing lift force. The vehicle is stabilized in the lateral and yaw directions with feedback controlled lateral control coils that interact with the permanent magnet rails on the guideway. A track switching structure employs permanent magnet rails that gradually widen along a segment of track and separate into two identical diverging rails. Feedback controlled lateral control coils in a moving vehicle stabilize that vehicle over one or the other pairs of diverging rails, as directed by a control computer, thereby causing the vehicle to continue along one path or the other, with no moving or active elements required in the track.