French startup named SeaBubbles plans to open up waterways for public use, all around the world and is working on introducing a new way to transport people on waterways at car speed at a regular cab price without heavily demanding any change in the infrastructure and with zero emissions. SeaBubbles has recently raised $10.8 million funding from a French insurance group to make this dream a reality.
SeaBubbles has created a 100% electric autonomous boat named the Bubble. Consider the Bubble as a futuristic water taxis that will work just like cabs but in water reducing traffic on the streets. Alain Thebault and Anders Bringdal, a sailor and windsurfer respectively, started the company in October 2016 and since then have raised a lot of funding from various investors. The Bubble boat is a complete autonomous boat during its rides and charges while stationed at the Dock.
How does the Seabubble fly:
SeaBubbles say that people can enter from the side door and take their seats into the Bubble. Once the doors are closed and secured, it will get out of the Dock and start moving. After crossing 12 kmph, the Bubble will start flying above the water which will also help in any sea sickness, sudden movement or waves rolling. As you come close to your destination, the bubble slowly comes back to the water level to reach the Dock, letting its passengers out and waiting until the next ones are ready to board. The design of the Bubble is also car-shaped equipped and the use of hydrofoils helps it to rise above the surface of the water.
These flying water cars can be used in cities situated on major waterways like Mumbai and can be used as a ferry service. Globally, the company plans public demonstration tours called “SeaBubbles Pop Up Tour” and will be open to the public. SeaBubbles plans operations in several cities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East by 2018, with its on-demand, water taxi service operational in 50 cities by 2024.
Just like flying taxis and HyperLoop, SeaBubbles faces financial and regulatory challenges. While the prototype and the overall idea is amazing, it will still be a task to woo investors and then convincing the cities to allow and operate in their waterway. The company plans to build an app just like Uber's which will allow easy accessibility to the flying water car. But unlike Uber, Seabubbles has to build an entire transportation network right from the scratch and not just a mobile app. All that while ensuring the safety of the vehicle and proper Docks for stable infrastructure.