SeaBubbles, is a French startup that hopes to be the Uber for water taxis.
Last year, the futuristic water taxi startup first revealed its bold vision to revolutionize urban travel : a network of autonomous, car-shaped river shuttles equipped with hydrofoils that it would use to literally rise above the surface of the waves.
The boats hover inches above the water thanks to the same physics phenomenon that allowed the Hydroptere sailboat to set water speed records.
Alain Thebault (Hydroptere co designer with Eric Tabarly) and Anders Bringdal (two time world champion Swedish professional windsurfer) , started SeaBubbles in early 2016.
SeaBubbles hopes to expand its service to a dozen cities in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the US by 2018, with its on-demand, water taxi service operational in 50 cities by 2024.
Of course, SeaBubbles faces enormous financial and regulatory challenges. Bringdal and Thebault have to build a working prototype, woo investors, convince city officials to allow them to operate in their waterways, and build an app for passengers. They also have to prove that these vessels are safe, and install dockside electric charging stations. Uber just built an app. SeaBubbles will have to create an entire transportation network from scratch.
“Pollution and global gridlock are not only threatening our welfare, but are ultimately threatening people’s freedom of mobility. Because in 2050, there will be 4 billion cars in the streets, and even if they are all powered by clean energies, it will still create a massive traffic jam. We believe that the future of mobility will rise from the water, a natural, historic path in the cities that has been underrated for a long time.”
The “Sea Bubble” is powered by two small electric motors. It is powered by solar energy through panels on the vehicle.
It floats 50 centimetres above the river, only making contact with the water via its four “marine wings”, or foils, which reduces the resistance by 30 to 40 percent compared to a boat of a similar size.
Zero noise, Zero wave and Zero carbon emission!