Seabubbles: the Futuristic River Taxi Ready to Fly Down the Seine

Seabubbles are to trial their futuristic taxi service on the Seine in Paris

A new flying taxi-bubble is about to get tested on the river Seine in Paris: powered by green energy and producing zero emissions, it promises to help relieve traffic congestion and improve air quality in urban centres, and to make urban mobility just that little bit smarter.

Author Annalisa Dorigo, 07.12.17

Translation Annalisa Dorigo:

A new flying taxi-bubble is about to get tested on the river Seine in Paris: powered by green energy and producing zero emissions, it promises to help relieve traffic congestion and improve air quality in urban centres, and to make urban mobility just that little bit smarter.

Looking like something right out of a sci-fi movie, Seabubbles have come up with a smart mobility solution that is powered entirely by green energy, produces no noise or emissions, and by using waterways, can also help reduce the traffic jams in our ever more congested cities. Seabubbles comprise a fleet of taxi-bubbles, docks, an app – and the system is to be tested in Paris in September this year.

According to the Seabubbles website, some four billion cars are forecast to be on the road globally by 2050. Although the share of electric vehicles is set to rise too, with most of us also living in cities by then, this development has huge potential for noise and air pollution prevention, and for carbon emission reductions.

Their bubble-shaped water cars have enough room for five people, including the driver. They are noiseless, stable, and can travel at speeds of up to 30 km/hour. As soon as a speed of 12km/hour is reached, two electrical engines inside their hull allow the bubbles to lift up and hover two feet above water: this reduces drag and helps keep down their energy consumption.

© Seabubbles The Seabubble docks are to act as charging stations, powered by a combination of solar, hydraulic and wind power.

Taxis powered entirely by renewable energy

The docks (essentially the taxi-bubbles stations) use renewable energy sources – such as the wave power from rivers – to charge up the bubbles as they come in to offload passengers and load new ones. The aim is to make the docks completely energy independent, and for them to combine solar, hydraulic and wind power in order to be able to produce all the energy that they require. In the long term, the plan is also for the docks to feed green energy back into the city grid.

Last but not least, the taxi service is supported by a mobile app through which passengers can search for and book their taxi bubbles, as well as find the nearest docks from which to catch them.

What’s on the horizon for Seabubbles?

While at this stage the bubbles are designed to fly only on rivers, lakes and calm water systems, the team are already at work to produce a model that’s also suitable for use at sea.

Further pilot projects are in the pipeline for England, the US and in Switzerland, and Seabubbles aims to be in 50 cities within five years. In the future they also hope to be able to produce their flying-taxi system entirely within the countries in which they are active – meaning no shipping costs and reduced travel emissions. And autonomous bubbles that drive themselves shouldn’t be far off either.

For more information, and to become a licensed Seabubbles pilot, head to their website. And here’s a short video about the plan:

TAGGED WITH
E-Mobility: Where Is It Taking Us?

Climate change, particulate pollution, C02 emissions: If we're to make a switch from fossil fuels to clean energy, the transport sector needs to find new concepts, alternative energy sources, and innovative solutions. Not just because our stocks of fossil fuels are dwindling, but most importantly because burning them emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

Vehicle-to-Grid: Using Electric Cars To Store Renewable Energy

Electric cars that aren't currently on the move could be used to help stabilise energy grids, make electricity from renewable energy sources more viable and generate extra income for EV owners. That's the goal of the Munich-based company The Mobility House and their smart Vehicle-to-Grid technology.

Solmove: Will German Cars Soon Be Driving on Solar Roads?

The German startup Solmove has developed a system of glass panels embedded with solar cells that can be used to cover roads and generate energy. It's the latest step in solar road technology, and looks set to give a boost to the electric car market too.

Meet Olli: the Electric Self-Driving Minibus That Talks to Passengers

E-mobility has never been so cool. A new self-driving minibus has been doing the rounds, and is set to conquer the hearts of passengers and smart-transport enthusiasts the world over.

RiverRide: A New Solar Cycle Path May Float Along Chicago River

Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago wants to make his city the most bike-friendly city in the US. A new solar cycle path floating along the Chicago River may just help make his vision a reality.

Driverless Cars, More Than Just a Cool Idea

Any idea that simplifies life as much as possible is one that will soon find itself on the fast track to actualisation, and today everyone is excited about the “driverless car”. This idea has overtaken the Hybrid Car as the car of the future and there is a rush to successfully produce autonomous cars with predictions of market availability being as early as 2020.

Call-a-bus: the End of the Bus Stop?

German researchers are using a small town as a living lab to test a transportation system where buses come based on real-time demand.

Megacities

According to a UN Habitat forecast, two thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2030. Not least because of their population density, cities have become a huge focal point when it comes to sustainable development.

Air Pollution

The term “air pollution” conjures up a broad array of images – from hazy smog to acid rain and buildings stained from exhaust fumes. Equally broad are its causes and negative effects on human and environmental health. In fact, the vast majority the world’s population is adversely affected by air pollution, perhaps without even realizing it. The good news is, since most air pollution is caused by human activity, it's a problem that all of us can do something about.