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'Sea Bubbles', you really will like it
Transportation Transportation Battery

Self-propelled boats will unlock large metropolises'

Like many of you I like to travel. But the last few years I’m more conscious about how I travel and where I go. Of course ‘I travel’ daily to my work. I’m living in a country with many canals and lakes. I even could go from where I live to my work by boat but…. there are no possibilities to do so yet! These new developed ‘Sea Bubbles’ would be excellent to bring me to my office. I calculated that it would take the same time as I now need to go on my bicycle.
Map with Whatsorb logo, house icon and text
My trip over water from my home to my office. By hans van der Broek

Paris trips Sea Bubbles up

These flying taxis, that are said to be tested on the Seine river in May-June 2018 and aim at making the Seine river a common means of transport so that you can cross the city of lights in less than 15 minutes!

Sea Bubble on river Seine with buildings at the bacjground

Call per App

According to Quotenet it is a sailing service that you can call per app and that takes you to your destination via channels, lakes and rivers. The big advantage, according to the French startup, is that you do not come across traffic lights, cyclists and pedestrians, and that you glide across the water with a hydrofoil to your destination.

Kite technique
Sea Bubble on wings with 2 people
Photo by:  SeaBubbles

Seabubbles was founded two years ago by Alain Thebault and Anders Bringdal, a racing sailor and a windsurfer. Meanwhile some € 15 million has been invested in a network of autonomous, shipless river taxis. Reservations are made with an uber-like app, after which you get on at one of the many berths.


The boats are equipped with a hydrofoil: a system where the boat comes out of the water and is nowadays popular among kiters and sailors. It ensures that the engine consumes less energy and that you hardly suffer from waves. The first tests on Lake Geneva have been successful. The founders expect to start in Paris in a few years and to be active in several world cities by 2024.

Navigate the Seine in May, June 2018
'Sea Bubbles'Marine in river Seine with water taxies
Photo by: Sea Bubbles, SortiraParis

Bertrand Lambert, Sea Bubbles inventor, announces to be able to navigate the Seine in May-June this year. The famous flying taxis have already been successfully tested last June. 

For the record, initially planned for late September 2017, Sea Bubbles testing have been postponed because of technical and regulatory constraints. On the one hand to improve the system enabling to make the driving available to everyone and on the other hand for speed issues. Actually, these machines can “fly” at a maximum speed of 32mph and cannot reduce it. Yet, the Seine limited speed is set at 7.5mph in the city center and 11.2mph outside. According to Voies Navigables de France (Navigable Waterways of France), a steadfast speed promises a great deal of discussions.

Finally, after months of negotiations, Alain Thébault, helped by Paris Authorities and the Ministry of Transport, is finally being authorized to navigate or "fly" at a speed of 15.53 mph. The green light has just been given by the region prefect, Michel Cadot.

This new testing will be open to the public this time and last 2 months. Let's fly over the Seine!

Called “Sea Bubbles”, these flying boats seem to come straight from sci-fi movies. Able to accommodate up to 4 passengers and one pilot, this new means of circulating is electric and rather simple to use.

In concrete terms, how does it work? Under each machine, there are wings propelled by two electric motors. When started up, they take off and lift but they still touch the water. Notwithstanding, the rubbing is reduced by 40% in comparison with a boat hull.

These “flying” boats will be tested very soon, and Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo says “This is far from being anecdotal. Sea Bubble will be a means of transport that potentially embodies the future taxi service on the Seine River, I think”.

If everything goes as planned, five to ten Sea Bubbles should be in use and available as experimental fluvial taxis so that they can cross Paris in less than 15 minutes. If Paris will be the first city in the world to try these Sea Bubbles, other great cities crossed by rivers are interested, like Geneva for example.

So, what do you think of these Sea Bubbles?

By: Erik Kouwenhoven, Hans van der Broek, Sortiraparis