SeaBubbles, a ground-breaking flying taxi that operates in water, zoomed across the River Seine in Paris on Wednesday, ahead of the VivaTech conference, which brings together tech CEOs and startups from around the world.
French yachtsman Alain Thebault wants to turn a boat design he used to break a world speed sailing record in 2009 into a clean, fast taxi service for the waterways of major cities.
He calls the proposed service SeaBubbles and its flying taxis ‘Bubbles’.
They are planning on showing their innovative service to the public at the VivaTech conference inParis starting Thursday and hope to sell their first models.
The SeaBubbles prototype preserves its battery by rising out of the water on legs at speed.
Its mobile application matches those of other regular taxi services’ such as Uber, while its goal is to disrupt their market and put an end to traffic jams in major cities.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has spearheaded the closing off of a riverside road in favor of pedestrians, supported Seabubbles, taking a trip on it last June.
But the Bubble only has a chance of running in Paris if the authorities raise the Seine speed limit so it can go fast enough to rise out of the water, a request they have rejected so far.
Hidalgo’s office did not respond to a request for comments on the project, including whether she thought the Paris speed limit should be changed.
Emmanuel Macron, France’s pro-business president who wants to create a “startup nation”, even championed the idea when he was finance minister.