At last month’s VivaTech conference in Paris, there was plenty of prototype technology on display. Easily the largest was a new kind of boat, known as the Bubble. The Bubble is about the size of a car, measuring 2,7 meters wide and 4,5 meter long.
The propulsion and steering system as well as the hydrodynamic design all come from the nautical industry. The interior design and the design of the upper deck come from the car industry. The foils are derived from the aeronautic industry. The technology industry often draws from a range of places for inspiration and this is a fine example of collecting the best ideas of the world and turning them in a single product.
The Bubble gets its powered from two electrical engines, located inside the hull. This unique design allows it to travel along the top of the water using the hydrodynamic lift, as the air above the aisle draws the vehicle towards the top and allows it to rise above the water and stay there.
While the design is certainly different than any other boat on the market, the inside is actually quite familiar. This first version has 4 seats for passengers that rotate to allow you to take in the view, as well a spot for the pilot aka captain.
The Seabubbles ecosystem.
That pilot’s job is actually an incredibly easy one. Seabubbles are planning on the 100% electric Bubble being the Uber of the water and offer autonomous transport to its passengers. While docked, the boat would recharge as passengers unload and load at the Dock.
People enter from the side door and take their seats into the Bubble. Once the doors are closed and the Bubble secured, it moves out of the Dock and begins its journey. As the Bubble’s speed increases to 12 km/h (7.5 mph) the Bubble starts ‘flying’ above the water. This easy ramp up and gliding, rather than swaying about in the water, is said to eliminate any seasickness, which opens to the door to more passengers who traditionally may have sworn off water-based transport like ferries.
Once the ride is over, the Bubble slowly comes back to the water level and reaches the Dock to let the passengers out.
— Alain Thébault (@Alain_Thebault) June 28, 2017
Seabubbles first tested the Bubble back in March this year. At Paris, they were intending on giving rides to some of the press, but that got postponed, instead the creators took it out on the water for some further testing (also demonstration to potential investors). Next year, the company is looking at rolling out a demo tour in selected cities around the world.
For now, the Bubble can only flies on calm water, including lakes, rivers and closed bays. But the longer term vision is to enable it to travel on the open waterways.
More information at Seabubbles.fr