Flying cars are taking off soon. How about flying boats too? – Info Entrepreneurship
A laconic billboard caught my attention as I was driving north on US-101, the coastal highway leading through Silicon Valley to San Francisco. Flying cars are coming. Are you ready?
It was a pitch for the new nanodegree program “Flying Cars and Autonomous Flight” offered by Udacity, the cutting-edge distance learning platform launched by two Stanford instructors. “Flying cars and drones are the future of transportation, and they will massively change the world,” says Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s president and the CEO of Kitty Hawk, the company that recently launched the flying taxi “Cora” and the flying car “Flyer.”
So while we all eagerly await for cars to fly, I can’t help but think it is apropos that flying boats get their chance to shine too. The Tetrahedron Pyramid superyacht and the Enata Foiler 41 are two examples receiving press coverage in recent months.
Yet, despite the billions of dollars spent on R&D, the flying boats of today are still utilizing hydrofoil technology that dates back to the turn of the twentieth century. Foils affixed to the bottom of a hull will lift the vessel out of the water as its speed increases which creates a levitating effect and the illusion of a flying yacht.
But hydrofoils have two significant issues that ultimately impede the technology’s success. The first is “sea state” meaning wave height. When the depth of a vessel’s foils is lower than an oncoming wave, a hydrofoil will crash into the wave unless it slows down considerably below its lift speed. The second issue is sonic cavitation, the complicated physics phenomenon no one has been able to solve that causes hydrofoils to vibrate excessively at speeds above 60mph.
So as cars take to the air, how do we get boats to do the same? And why would we want to? The second question is simpler than the first. The waterways of our planet are untapped highways, yet traveling on them by high-speed ferry or personal yacht is a slow (under 50mph) and often uncomfortable, seasick-evoking process that wreaks havoc on the environment. But the sea, covering our planet as it does, is still a mightily intriguing way to move people, goods, and services.
That brings me to explain the Amphfoil, a newly patented “flying boat” that offers an advancement beyond hydrofoils. The Amphfoil uses marine technology to achieve an electric surface flying vessel that morphs, as speed increases, from power catamaran to hydrofoil to surface effect craft (or WIG-Wing in Ground Effect). Its ability to operate in surface effect allows the Amphfoil to reach speeds of over 100mph.
Besides its speed over water and its nautical range, one of the most critical aspects of the Amphfoil is that it is not subjected to aviation regulations because it has a “trim arm” that touches the water at all times allowing it to remain, always, a boat.
Since the Amphfoil is designed to range from 16ft to 85ft with fully customized interiors, it can be used as a personal superyacht; a shadow vessel; a tender limousine; a high-speed ferry; a supply vessel for offshore stations; or even a coastal defense vessel for rescue operations and shoreline protection. And with its quiet, low-emission, solar and wind assisted electric hybrid propulsion, the Amphfoil is also “green,” thereby eliminating adverse impacts on shorelines and protecting the environment from pollution.
Flying cars are coming soon. Let’s hope flying boats are too.
Article Prepared by Ollala Corp