Introducing the Gizmag Store

Amphibious

Killer amphibious vehicle - 39 mph on water and 55 mph on land

With waterfront property highly prized the world over, we see the amphibious market as one of the next great opportunities – the people with the greatest disposable income will have the greatest need for amphibians. At the same time, new techniques, technologies and materials are yielding a new breed of amphibious craft that are seemingly omnipotent. Most amphibious craft to date have been biased towards performance on land (such as the Splash, Commander, Amphicar, Platypus, Aquada and Humdinger) or water (such as the Aerosan or Sealegs here, and here). Only the Quadski seems to have a balance of performance on both, and it is limited to one, perhaps two people. Now a new technology threatens to seriously disrupt this marketplace. Fast Track Amphibian has entered the development phase for a product line of all-terrain amphibious vehicles using tracks as their means of propulsion on both water and land. Nearly all other amphibians comprise two drive systems – the FastTrack does it all with one, gaining a significant advantage in weight. The patent-pending technology that enables the tracks to work as the sole means of high-speed propulsion on water is unique. It enables a vehicle to “get out of the hole, over the hump and on to the plane from dead in the water. Videos of what this means in the real world can be found here. FastTrack equipped vehicles can start, stop and cruise on water like a boat as well as traverse diverse terrain, from ice and snow to swamps, deep mud, mountains and deserts - all at very high speeds. The first technology demonstrator can achieve 39 mph on water and 55 mph on land, all in comfort thanks to the air shocks and massive suspension system, which can be retracted or extended to suit the circumstance. The technology demonstrator carries six people at high-speed almost anywhere, giving it seemingly limitless opportunity in the areas of recreation, utility, search and rescue, ship-to-shore and military operations. Potential recreational uses include sports and racing, hunting and fishing, wilderness touring and camping. This vehicle will take you up a muddy hill in the forest better than a motorcycle, take swamp and tundra and ice and snow in its stride and enter and exit the water in almost any conditions … it is a genuine all terrain vehicle and transitions from one medium to another seamlessly. It makes very soft, comfortable, water entries at 40 mph and similarly smooth egresses at 20 mph. The first vehicles the company produces for non-military customers will be hand built and custom made for those who can afford to be the first owners of this unique machine. These vehicles will have aggressive styling, two or five place plush seating and 300 plus horsepower for speeds of 60 mph on water and 80 mph on land. More videos are available here, showing the FastTrack 1 driving down a country road, running on powder snow, pulling two water skiers, on the plane with tracks down and tracks up, a ramp entry into water at over 40 mph, and watch how easily it crosses this river. This short video shows the beastie doing 37 mph on water.  Read More

Leaving Dover with the famous White Cliffs in the background

November 15, 2006 Last week yet another successful crossing of the English Channel was made, this time by two Dutton S2 Commander amphibians which made the journey in 7 hours and 5 minutes travelling from Dover (UK) to Calais (France). The attempt fell well short of the Sealegs amphibious boat record of 43 minutes, and the Gibbs Aquada’s amphibious car record of one hour, 40 minutes but there are a few special attributes that should be considered. For starters, the Suzuki-based Dutton S2 is fully road registrable, has true 4WD capabilities, comes in petrol or diesel engine, right or left drive, and costs less than US$50,000 – it’s your genuine budget, works-out-of-the-box amphibian. Secondly, there was almost no planning involved and the crossing was done in less-than-ideal conditions to draw attention to the plight of a wildfowl reserve (wildfowl being amphibious creatures is the connection) and in ideal conditions a time of better than five hours could be expected. With 90 percent of the world's population living close to the water, amphibians make a lot of sense.  Read More

The New Sealegs Amphibious Rescue Craft

November 15, 2006 Amphibious vehicle manufacturers Sealegs has unveiled a new amphibious rescue boat aimed at search and rescue roles with government agencies, fire departments and civil defence forces. The 6 metre Amphibious Rescue Craft (ARC) is constructed of marine grade aluminium for demanding field deployment applications. The Sealegs ARC has a base price of NZ$89,000 (US$58,850) and made its debut at the Big Boys Toys show in the company’s native New Zealand last week. With international demand for the company’s unique product now accounting for 80% of production, a new production facility is being readied to increase supply by a factor of four.  Read More

Rinspeed Splash makes amphibious English Channel attempt

July 27, 2006 The English channel is without doubt the world’s busiest waterway, even before the raft of record attempts we have seen for amphibious vehicles in recent times. Yet another amphibious vehicle took to the waters this week, and although the outright amphibious vehicle record remained intact, and the amphibious car record also remained unscathed, there’s a new record for hydrofoil amphibians which has been set by Rinspeed and its outrageous Splash concept car.  Read More

US Military FCT contract for High Speed Amphibians

June 19, 2006 It was only a matter of time really – Gibbs Technologies’ High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology has wowed the world with the Aquada sports car, Humdinga AWD and QuadSki amphibians so sooner or later it was bound to come under the scrutiny of the most technologically adventurous fighting force on the planet. Today it was announced that Gibbs has won a US Department of Defence (DOD) Foreign Comparative Test contract to evaluate its existing HSA technology for military purposes. Founder Alan Gibbs said of winning the contract, “it’s a major milestone for the company because we have solved a problem which has beset every major General since Alexander the Great.”  Read More

50 mph Quadski converts from Jetski to ATV in five seconds

Alan Gibb's Aquada and Humdinga high speed amphibious vehicles have been making the headlines for the last few years, partly because they work, partly because they have compelling feature sets and partly because the Aquada has set a few records, most notably in the hands of Sir Richard Branson. Now there's a new affordable Gibbs amphibian on the way that instantly becomes one of the most desirable recreational vehicles on the planet - it's both a quadbike and a jet ski and converts from one guise to the other at the touch of a button in under five seconds, using the 140 bhp motor to reach 50 mph (72km/h) on both land and water. The design offers a new class of recreational vehicle, along with a range of capabilities that make it ideal for life saving clubs, search and rescue, military, emergency services and aid workers who will be able to reach areas and people no two or four wheel drive vehicle could reach. Gibbs Technologies intends to license the design and technology for the Quadski and is seeking expressions of interest.  Read More

The Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA-R) amphibious assault ship

January 24, 2006 The United States Defense Acquisition Board has approved the Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA)-Replacement amphibious assault ship program to enter system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. The Northrop Grumman LHA(R) will be the U.S. Navy's newest multifunctional and most versatile, amphibious assault ship, incorporating enhanced aviation capabilities centred around the STOVL F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and the V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey. The LHA(R) will be a variant of the gas-turbine powered LHD 8. This longer and wider ship will provide increased aviation capability, vehicle lift, cargo magazine capacity, better survivability, increased habitability standards and greater service life margins.  Read More

smart amphibious vehicle

December 23, 2005 While this vehicle was conceived by Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America as yet another ingenious adaptation of the smart as a rescue vehicle for the adventures of BayWatch Southern California lifeguard types, we can’t help but think it’s the ideal vehicle for any water-side dweller anywhere in the world. Amphibious vehicles make loads of sense, particularly when the vehicle can carry five people to the beach AND happily entertain everyone in the surf when you get there. The concept is mid-engined and has an 800cc turbo smart engine that sits between the front and rear foam seats and powers the jet pump when in amphibious mode.  Read More

The SeaLegs Anaconda Amphibious Concept

December 2, 2005 With the vast majority of the world’s population living very close to the water, amphibious vehicles make loads of sense – which means we love amphibious vehicles at Gizmag, having previously reported on the original launch of Sealegs, the Gibbs Aquada Sportcar, the Gibbs Humdinga 4WD amphibian, the Platypus 4WD amphibian, the Rinspeed Splash, the Phibicat,the world’s only mass production amphibian, the Amphicar. More recently, we’ve written about the Sealegs rugged aluminium amphibious craft which which halved Sir Richard Branson's English Channel record set in an Aquada in June. Interestingly, the country where most amphibious innovation is occuring is New Zealand, home of both Gibbs and SeaLegs and one of the most interesting tertiary courses in the world – Massey University’s Bachelor of Design in Transport Design. Our latest amphibian is a concept craft created by a graduate of Massey Designs Marine Transport Course, Matt Gibson. This year Matt’s final year project was sponsored by Sealegs International and the aim was to develop a futuristic amphibious craft, which eventually took shape as the “Anaconda” pictured here.  Read More

The Amfibidiver: an amphibious submarine

Belgian diving enthusiast and inventor Rene Baldewijns found that dive boats were rarely available when or where he wanted to dive and that a lot of dive time was lost looking for the area he wanted to dive in. So he conceived a boat that that could drive itself off the trailer, along the road and into the water whilst carrying larger quantities of air and equipment than any diver could carry. His dream boat could travel to the dive area like a speedboat and then literally ... pull the plug out and dive. Whilst dived, it had to be able to cruise around underwater until he found the right area, then park on the bottom as an underwater base to support diving activities for two. When finished, the idea was to blow the ballast, surface, and return to land at high speed, driving out of the water and onto its trailer. The prototype he built has achieved all those aims.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 26,483 articles