Photo Credit: Sam Panthaky
Half-Plane, Half-Boat Seagliders: High Speed Transit Option Coming To US Coasts
REGENT, a Boston-based start-up, is looking to make electric airplane-boat hybrids known as seagliders a staple on US coasts, according to CNN. The high speed, emission-free vehicles would provide a convenient transportation option that drastically reduces travel time.
Imagine being able to make the Los Angeles to San Diego commute in just 50 minutes. Or reaching Boston from New York in only two hours, without having to deal with traffic or set foot in an airport. This is the future REGENT envisions.
Seagliders operate using a concept called ground effect whereby they skim the water’s surface at high speeds. This type of vehicle is not a brand-new concept. Similar machines were used by the military of the Soviet Union and several other companies around the world are developing their own versions.
However, REGENT has done something all new and innovative, finding a way to solve several problems that have stood in the way of these types of vehicles becoming mainstream. The company has added several elements that have resolved issues with wave sensitivity and poor maneuverability typically found in these types of vehicles. In this way, their seagliders are unique. So unique that REGENT believes they should be considered a new category of vehicle.
Seagliders can currently travel at a speed of up to 180 miles per hour for a range of 180 miles at a time. The company is optimistic that with advances in battery technology in the near future, they should be able to increase their range by more than double, potentially even reaching 500 miles.
Intended to be a low-cost mode of transport, REGENT believes its seaglider can be a great alternative option to ferries and other electric aircrafts. With the seaglider able to operate six times faster than ferries and with twice the range but half the cost of electric aircrafts, it is difficult to argue with that sentiment.
REGENT co-founder Billy Thalheimer estimates prices of $50-$80 per person for the first 12-passengers version, however, ultimately, it is the opertors who will determine ticket prices. Prices for the 50-seat seaglider will be even lower. The first prototype is expected to set sail by the end of the year.