The SeaBubble is a hydrofoil, the size of a small car. It is proposed they could be used as water taxis in cities. Founded by Alain Thébault, designer of the world record breaking Hydroptère, who conceived the idea and Anders Bringdal, they brought together a team in France, with skills in hydrodynamic designing then finalising a design in 2016 for a five-person SeaBubbles water taxi. Designed to operate in a no-wake zone, the SeaBubbles rises after a few metres on four skids.
This reduces water drag by 40% and increases efficiency, allowing speeds of up to 46 km/h. The SeaBubble is powered by two electrically driven propellers attached to the rear skids. The electric power is replenished at the landing stage by using a mixture of solar panels and turbines to charge the batteries. The vehicle is silent and as it makes no wake, it will not erode river banks. It uses electricity thus it has no emission on the trip. “You’ve got packed roads and empty waterways in a lot of cities — there’s an obvious opportunity,” co-founder Alain Thebault said in an interview.
“We want to build water taxis.” Each shuttle will carry five people, including a pilot, but the goal is to forgo the pilot and make the system fully autonomous in a few years once regulation allows it, Thebault said.