SeaBubbles Raises $11 Million for Its Hovering Electric Autonomous Taxi Boat

While a dozen or so companies are fighting over ride-sharing supremacy on land (they are essentially trying to surpass Uber), French startup SeaBubbles sees (see what I did there?) an opportunity in seizing (I'll stop, I promise) the top spot in water transportation.
SeaBubbles prototype testing 7 photos
Photo: SeaBubbles
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Alright, so the company's name is a little misleading since the boat is actually supposed to navigate the rivers that cross major cities, but that doesn't mean it can't venture into the open sea as well. Yet Alain Thebault and Anders Bringdal, the two men behind SeaBubbles, started this firm with the idea of providing people with an on-demand water taxi service.

And things seem to be going in the right direction for them. After just one year, they have presented the second prototype of the so-called flying boat (more on that in a minute) after announcing a successful fund-raising campaign that landed nearly $11 million ($10.8 million or €10 million) in their coffers. This came after an initial $3 million effort early last year.

However, given the complexity of their operation, the SeaBubble founders are likely to need more than that before they can put everything in motion. With the second prototype almost production-ready, The Verge says the two partners hope to have 12 vessels operating on Paris' Seine River by this summer, which is to say in just a few months.

As far as the actual boat is concerned, it does look futuristic enough to make people want to give it a try. It uses hydrofoils to lift its hull above water level thus greatly reducing friction and making the vessel a lot more economical. Which it needs to be because Alain and Anders' boat is going to be battery-powered, meaning efficiency has to be a priority.

Keeping pace with the times, SeaBubbles takes things a step further and wants to make its boats autonomous as well. If everything else (finishing the prototype, putting a charging infrastructure in place) wasn't enough to slow SeaBubbles down, then convincing authorities to allow a few drone ships to buzz around the city's waterways is sure to do the job.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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