A new zero-emission water taxi called SeaBubbles, developed in partnership with ABB, was taken out onto Lake Geneva in Switzerland where it took the opportunity to show off its capabilities. The concept for the water taxi, the hydrofoils that give it its lift and the flight control system were designed by Caponnetto-Hueber.
It works using a hydrofoil which lifts it above the water and it can reach speeds of 18 mph. The creators want to make it work like an Uber service, using an app to hail a ride.The plan would be to have docking stations along a river to reduce road traffic in major cities.
The vehicle uses hydrofoil technology to lift the hull of the boat out of the water and an array of advanced sensors to keep the vehicle perfectly balanced and stable. The sensors work together with the vehicle controls to compensate for the pitch, roll, and height of the vehicle in an effort to minimize the sensations that cause sea sickness.
Sensor data feeds into the fly by wire system – also known as a semiautonomous or computerized control system – that manages the position of the 3 flaps on the foils to keep the craft stable regardless of conditions on the water. The video below presents a compelling image from the initial display of the vehicle’s capabilities.
As the hydrofoils lift the hull out of the water when underway, water resistance to the bulk of the vehicle is minimized, leaving only the hydrofoils themselves and the three connections up to the body of the boat in contact with the water.