Electric water taxi tested on Lake Geneva
A futuristic, zero-emission new design of water taxi, called SeaBubbles, was recently demonstrated on Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
The vehicle represents a milestone in the development of new forms of transportation that do not impact the environment or place any burden on urban infrastructure. It is set to be equipped with the ABB Ability Marine Advisory System known as OCTOPUS — a software solution that helps vessel operators gather and analyse all relevant data to optimise water travel.
SeaBubbles was founded by Alain Thébault, who conceived the idea, and Anders Bringdal. They brought together a team in France with skills in hydrodynamic design, 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 and reaches a speed of 11–15 km/h on four skids. This reduces water drag by 40% and increases efficiency, allowing speeds of up to a potential 46 km/h.
The development of the demonstration craft was supported by the Geneva cantonal authorities and the Department of Energy, Transport and Agriculture (DETA), represented by State Councilors Luc Barthassat and Pierre Maudet, drawing on technology from ABB. Further trials will continue in the months ahead, including the deployment of the OCTOPUS. The system will enable ABB to provide real-time data to the SeaBubbles control centre, covering virtually every aspect of the vessel’s operating status.
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