Sea Bubbles, a French startup founded by Anders Bringdal two times windsurf world champion in 2009 and 2010 and Alain Thebault, the inventor of the Hydroptere is introducing an app based river taxi system in Paris.
The system comprises Hydropteres and Dock. The Hydroptere is a hydrofoil boat the size of a car. It is fully electric and is autonomous when operating in the river. The Hydroptere docks on a dock which is a pontoon for mooring the Hydroptere for allowing boarding and de-boarding. However, the difference is that the dock has a solar roof, wind turbines and wave generators integrated into the structure. These docks thus generate electricity using wave, sun and wind. This electricity is stored in batteries which can then be used to charge the batteries of the Hydroptere when it is docked and waiting to receive passengers. The dock can charge the Hydropeter in fast charge mode in 35 minutes. A standard charge needs 6 hours at 230V. The docks are available in various designs with capacity to dock one, two or three Hydropteres. It also has a lifting mechanism which allows for maintenance of the Hydropteres.
The Hydropteres can seat five, have doors and interiors like a car for ingress and egress as well as seating. They float on the water as boats when stationary. It is powered by two 18 KW electric motors turning the propellers. The Hydroptere stores its propulsion energy in Li-ion batteries with a capacity of 41 KW-H. Once its starts moving and reaches a speed of 12 km/h the hydrofoils lift it out of the water and allow it move at a much faster speed. The 36 KW power of the propulsion motor can move this 1250 kg vessel at a cruising speed of 26 km/h and a top speed of 33 km/h. It can carry 500 kgs of load and has a range of 35 nautical miles (68 km).
The Hydroptere is provided with a fly-by-wire system. When not in autonomous mode, the steering is provided by an electric joystick. The cabin is auto-draining. For passenger comfort it is provided with an HVAC system, while the dashboard indicates depth below keel and speed. Its also provided with the necessary navigation systems like navigation lights, chart plotter, VHF for communication and AIS for identification.
The company aims to provide river taxi service in 50 cities over the next five years using an app. They intend offering the service at the same price as a taxi ride.