French yachtsman Alan Thébault, the brains behind the innovative James Bond style hydrofoil water taxi, hopes his invention will be in use in 50 cities within five years.
The Bubble is Thébault’s answer to the global gridlock he feels is threatening the world’s welfare.
Thébault plans to use the Bubble to take congestion off the world’s roads. Motorists in cities like Hamilton, bisected by the Waikato River, will have an alternative to jumping in their cars or taking a taxi to travel from one side of the river to another. Or from one end of the city to the other. Thébault hopes to provide the Bubble, which seats up to five people, for the price of a regular cab.
The solar powered Bubble rises out of the water and travels, silently, by dual propeller on four skids at speeds of up to 46 km per hour or at 25 knots.
It’s not far from the travel pods popularised in the futuristic cartoon series The Jetsons.
“Because in 2050, there will be four billion cars in the streets, and even if they are all powered by clean energies, it will still create a massive traffic jam,” SeaBubbles says. “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 Waikato River was State Highway One in New Zealand, with waka plying their way through the interior of the country, long before roads were built.
Thébault, also the brains behind the world-record breaking Hydroptère sailing hydrofoil trimaran, wants to integrate Bubble into the world’s transportation system so that it becomes a part of people’s daily habits.
“If it inspires more and more people to take the waterways instead of the roads, it will be huge progress for cities around the world,” SeaBubbles says. “People will be able to change the destiny of the city, one ride at a time.”
Hamilton might not be as congested as London, Paris, New York or Toronto, but we would definitely benefit much from a SeaBubbles service. River crossings would literally take a matter of seconds.
Whether SeaBubbles ever makes it to Hamilton remain to be seen, but I would use the Bubble if the option existed, and what a great addition to the city’s tourist pull. What better way to arrive at a meeting across town than with a flying start?