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Final design of Platypus underwater exploration vehicle revealed

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December 10, 2013

The final design of the Platypus underwater exploration vehicle

The final design of the Platypus underwater exploration vehicle

Image Gallery (15 images)

After four years of development and months of prototype testing, Platypus founder Francois Alexandre Bertrand and his team have decided on the final design for their Platypus underwater exploration vehicle that will be launched next year. Aside from sporting a more polished look, the final production version also includes a number of newly-announced features.

Designed by French naval architectural firm Van Peteghem Lauriot Prévost (VPLP), the latest design builds on knowledge gained from prototype testing this past year. The final design measures 19 ft (5.7 m) long with an 8 ft (2.5 m) beam and weight (including batteries) of 1,500 lb (700 kg), which is a little smaller than the prototype to ensure it can be transported in a 20 ft shipping container.

The twin hulls have also been slightly upsized, which the company says provides improved surface navigation capabilities. These also contain the built-in electric air compressor – or "hookak" – to supply oxygen to passengers when beneath the waves. The craft accommodates up to four passengers, with either three positioned on the central pod (provided their total weight is less than 440 lb /200 kg) and one on the rear platform, or two on each.

Platypus final design with central pod lowered

The rear platform, which comes as standard on all models, is now also where the steering system is located. However, moving the steering system to the central pod is available as an option, with the optional underwater visualization system consisting of a waterproof display and surface camera with 360-degree viewing angle giving passengers the ability to maneuver the craft while underwater. It is also possible to have two steering systems installed to be used concurrently.

Other options include a central platform (or sundeck), digital periscope, submarine lights, underwater cameras, GPS, Wi-Fi, and "Ocean Reef" mask submarine communication system.

The Platypus can be powered by ICE or electric motors

The watercraft is still powered by two outboard motors, with customers offered a choice of three different powertrains. Two of these are electric, with the 2 x 2 kW Torqeedo electric motor model powered by an 8 kW Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) battery providing a range of 25 miles (40 km) and a maximum speed of 5 knots (5.7 mph/9 km/h) in surface navigation mode, while the 2 x 2.4 kW model is powered by a 10.5 kW lithium ion battery and gets a range of up to 30 miles (48 km) and top speed of 10 knots (11.5 mph/18 km/h).

The lone ICE-powered model packs 2 x 9.9 hp 4-stroke Mercury engines for a range of 50 miles (80 km) and a maximum speed of 14 knots (16 mph/30 km/h). Although not pictured in the images included with this story, the craft also comes equipped with propeller safety cages as standard.

The Platypus will be CE certified as a "standard boat" and will be available from next year for prices starting from €50,000 (US$69,000). Platypus is accepting pre-orders from this month.

The development of the Platypus is shown in the following 10-minute video and check out the image gallery for a look at the final design of the watercraft.

Source: Platypus

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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8 Comments

Amazing amount of work went into this, 100k was my pricing guess.

Like the concept.

Rehab
11th December, 2013 @ 08:03 am PST

I think I'll keep my scuba gear. But honestly, with today's plethora of low-cost ROVs and underwater cameras, why would one opt for such an ungainly craft just to get your body below the surface?

CliffG
11th December, 2013 @ 08:24 am PST

Maybe if it was tethered and more submersible.

KMH
11th December, 2013 @ 10:15 am PST

As a diver I think this craft will be too expensive for most people.

I'm sure that there are a few that will use it for an attraction at a summer resort or water attraction.

I'm also sure that more than a few in our group would be willing to test it for your research!

Indy

80 Proof Divers
11th December, 2013 @ 12:19 pm PST

Pretty cool idea. I and many others had this concept in mind 20 years ago. Have to give the creators a lot of credit for the time and effort to make the idea into a real product. Perhaps it needs a rider above water to watch for clear sailing path? It would seem the center on which they ride would benefit from some bottom skin to provide more hydrodynamic efficiency and also resistance to wave impacts when going faster in the raised position. At 3 knots underwater speed I suspect there will still be a certain amount of drag force on the body that will test the arms in short order. Perhaps if the person were to recline rearward at 45 degree angle with a fairing in front of the body to reduce drag and let the drag force push the body into a comfortable lounge. I also hope there will be a quick release on the safety belt and a shroud around the propellers for safety.

b2p
11th December, 2013 @ 05:56 pm PST

' Up to 3 passengers in the central pod, providing their total combined weight is less than 440 lbs' ???

I'd say it is a bit expensive for "Little People"...

Peahioi
12th December, 2013 @ 12:22 am PST

This is truly a revolutionnary concept and a great design.

I think this is a safe and fun way to discover undewater fields.

Seems to fit for many types of uses and types of users.

Moreover I like the idea of electrical power: ecological and silent.

Well, let's wish it long life

Sichel
16th December, 2013 @ 08:16 am PST

fabuleuse idée mise en conception par une équipe enthousiaste menée par un francois alexandre ;;;

le platypus depuis sa création n'a cessé d'évoluer et n'en doutons pas deviendra un incontournable du loisir sous marin; quand je vois certain commentaire critique( ils ont le droit), il faut penser aux non nageurs aux handicapés qui pourront enfin découvrir l'univers merveilleux des lagons sans bruit et sans pollution en toute sécurité;

grand bonheur d'avoir des personnes sur notre planète qui créent sans retenu;; bravo et longue vie a ce PLATYPUS

Jean Luc Pradier
18th December, 2013 @ 01:30 am PST
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