Paris is testing "flying water taxi" cruises on the River Seine as an eco-friendly way to beat traffic in the city.
If you're in Paris this week, you may come across little bubble-shaped vehicles zipping across the River Seine. Named "SeaBubbles" the electronic hydrofoil boat is currently undergoing test runs. If approved, you might see them more regularly in Paris and other cities next year, as developers aim to run the SeaBubbles as a commercial service as early as spring.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Anders Bringdal, SeaBubbles co-founder said: "the most important [factor] for us is no noise, no waves, no pollution. And bringing them into cities that are congested."
The boat can fit four passengers at a time and, if approved, can be booked on a smartphone app. Bypassing road traffic, the SeaBubbles can hover 50 centimetres (20 inches) above water to prevent any sea-sickness, sudden movements or waves rolling. It can also travel at speeds of up to 30km/hour (17m/hour). Which may not excite thrill seekers but it's probably faster than travelling through Paris streets at rush hour.
Electric motors allow the boats to run in silence without pollution. They're also battery-powered with a battery life of about four hours. Though developers hope to increase it to eight.
"We believe that pollution and global gridlock are not only threatening our welfare, but are ultimately threatening people’s freedom of mobility," Bringdal and co-founder Alain Thébault say on their website. "Because in 2050, there will be four billion cars in the streets, and even if they are all powered by clean energies, it will still create a massive traffic jam. We believe that the future of mobility will rise from the water, a natural, historic path in the cities that has been underrated for a long time."
This is the third time SeaBubbles have ran tests along the Seine. The first was in June 2017, while the second took place in May 2018. The company is now waiting for a final approval for a licence.