by Jamey Bergman – Yachting & Boating World.
A new electric water taxi is set to be tested on stretches of the Seine River in Paris this summer and its designer wants to use driverless technology to operate the “pods”.
Known as the Sea Bubble, the craft is a quadrofoil and floats above the water on four “marine wings.”
The Sea Bubble is a creation of French sailor Alain Thébault who has set a number of world speed records for sailboats. He is perhaps best known as one of the designers of l’Hydroptère, the double hydrofoil yacht that broke 50 knots in a test in 2009.
The Sea Bubble, on the other hand, will putter along at a mere 18 kilometres per hour, using two electric motors.
Thébault told French website The Local that, in addition to the mayor of Paris and the phone app ride share company Uber, London Mayor Boris Johnson had already called him to inquire about the potentially driverless boats: “Initially, there will be drivers, but quickly, our vehicle can become autonomous.”
Thébault reportedly has the backing of several investors and 100 people have already registered interest in owning one of the boats, expected to cost €30,000.
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