Zero-emission ‘seaglider’ will use a cushion of air to fly just above the ocean surface

The zero-emission Regent Viceroy ‘seaglider’, which will fly just above the ocean surface using the ground effect phenomenon

A new zero-emission flying vehicle will use a cushion of air to fly just above the ocean surface, its creators have said.

Known as the ‘seaglider’, the vehicle will operate exclusively over water to “drastically reduce the time and cost of moving people and goods between coastal cities,” according to Siemens, which announced a collaboration with developer Regent today (August 2).

When in flight, the seaglider will operate a few meters above the surface by using the ground effect phenomenon, essentially flying on a cushion of air. The approach aims to combine the high speed and comfort of an airplane with the low operating cost of an electric vehicle.

The vehicle is designed to operate in one of three modes – floating on its hull near the dock, foiling on its hydrofoils at up to 40 knots (74km/h) as it enters and leaves port, or flying above the waves at 160 kts ( 296km/h) while cruising to its destination.

The seaglider differs from past wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) vehicles due to its hydrofoils, distributed electric propulsion, and fly-by-wire controls, Siemens said.

The company’s Digital Industries Software branch announced that Boston, Massachusetts firm Regent has adopted the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of cloud-based software and services.

“At Regent we are focused on bringing a revolutionary new vehicle to the transportation market, with the potential to change how both people and freight move across the water,” said CTO and co-founder Mike Klinker.

“As our seagliders approach certification and full-scale commercial production, we need a robust, modern digital tools platform that supports the pace of our innovation cycles with the rigor to encompass a product as complex as ours.

“Siemens Xcelerator as a service was a perfect fit for a digital-first start-up like ours. Cloud native solutions, such as Teamcenter X, minimize administrative overhead and allow us to focus 100% on design, engineering, manufacturing, and innovation.”

The flagship 12-passenger seaglider, known as the Viceroy, is designed to service routes up to 290km with existing battery technology and 805km with next-generation batteries.

“The revolution of both mobility and electrification is continuing at an exciting pace across the entire spectrum of the industry, but it’s not often that the two combine with such spectacularly innovative product design to address a specific challenge like the one faced by coastal communities across the globe,” said Dale Tutt, vice-president of industry strategy at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

“Regent is pioneering innovative high-speed coastal transportation while targeting net zero from the very beginning. Our Xcelerator as a Service portfolio is instrumental in helping them get there faster.”

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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