We can change the way that boats power themselves, sure. Go solar, wind, or bio-fueled. But it's hard to imagine a boat that, well, doesn't look like a boat. With cars, people are going crazy, removing wheels and changing seat configurations, all for the sake of being aerodynamic. But boats don't need to be aerodynamic...they need to be hydrodynamic, and how on earth do you do that?
Well, now someone has changed the way the boat looks...and they've changed it a lot. The agents of that change are a few Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who, like the Tesla Roadster people, are using their gobs of leftover cash to try and rethink the world a bit. They've rethought the boat into a "Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel" or WAM-V. The initial prototype, the Proteus, has been touring around for some time now, raising eyebrows wherever it goes.
The Proteus is mostly so fantastic because it completely re-thinks the idea of the hull. Like all catamarans, it spreads its weight onto separate tracks that displace less water. But unlike anything I've ever seen, it is "wave adaptive," meaning the floats are designed to bounce and flop around with the waves. While this would make for an uncomfortably bumpy ride in a normal catamaran, the crazy, flexible spider legs keep the central pod relatively balanced.
The two separate hulls spread the weight of the craft extremely evenly over a large area, meaning that the craft displaces less than a foot of water. Less water displaced means less fuel consumed. And though the boat's designers have yet to release fuel economy numbers, they are leading us to believe that they are very good. But I'll reserve my final judgement for when I see the numbers.
So that's the "wave adaptive" part...what about the "modular"? Well, it turns out that the hull of the craft literally needs to drop down beneath the spider's legs for folks to get on and off the craft. The hull can, additionally, be entirely replaced with a new hull for different missions. Obviously, a pleasure cruise requires a different hull configuration than a search and rescue operation. The boat is also optimal for shallow water research, as it will not disturb reefs and creates next to no wake even at fairly high speeds.
Because we recognize that this thing is cool because it looks weird, as well as for it's enviro-cred, we've put some pictures and videos in after the jump. We hope you enjoy.
written by vigilant20, September 27, 2007
written by Paragon, September 30, 2007
A different design of an old idea
written by Richard, October 01, 2007
written by USA homes, October 25, 2007
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