Lonely Planet Writer

Watch: travel just got a lot more futuristic as flying water taxis are tested on the River Seine in Paris

Travel in Paris just got way more futuristic as ‘flying’ water taxis were tested on the River Seine for the first time recently. Known as SeaBubbles, it’s hoped they will one day be ordered like taxis along the river, helping to reduce traffic congestion in the busy French city.

Flying water taxis have been tested for the first time on the River Seine in Paris. Image: Seabubbles
Flying water taxis have been tested for the first time on the River Seine in Paris. Image: SeaBubbles

Invented by Alain Thébault who runs the company with and Anders Bringdal, the electric-powered SeaBubble floats 70cm above the water and can reach a speed of 18km per hour. It fits five people and only makes contact with the water via its four foils, which reduces resistance. A dock where the electric powered boats can be recharged will be installed on the river bank next to the Musée d’Orsay.

After the recent tests, demonstrations with the public will take place in September. The boat is in semi-production already and the company recently announced that it raised €10 million in funding to support the exciting project. The founders are aiming to have over a dozen waterboat taxis in the River Seine in Paris by this summer, providing they get permission to do so.

Flying water taxis have been tested for the first time on the River Seine in Paris. Image: Seabubbles
Flying water taxis have been tested for the first time on the River Seine in Paris. Image: SeaBubbles

SeaBubbles aims to expand the service to cities situated on major waterways around the world. Its plan includes expanding to twelve cities in around the world by 2018, and being operational in 50 cities by 2024. It faces financial and regulatory challenges in that area, of course, as it will have to attract investors and convince local governments to to allow its taxi vessels to operate in their waterways for a start, but it looks like a great idea to us anyway.