Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Submarine

Fraunhofer's prototype propulsion system

Along with their writhing tentacles, octopi and squid sport another interesting feature – they swim not by swishing a tail, but by expelling a jet of water. This allows them to move very quickly and quietly. Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation have now copied this system, in a propulsion system that could ultimately find use in boats, recreational watercraft, or submarines.  Read More

Known as “Wet Nellie” by the crew, this one and only fully operational underwater Lotus Es...

While the pursuit to develop flying cars and Star Warsian land-speeders rages on, the dilemma around developing a functioning underwater vehicle was solved decades ago … by the British Secret Service's Q Branch. In the film The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond escapes from the obligatory horde of bad guys by driving one very versatile white Lotus Esprit into the ocean. That fully submersible vehicle, is now set to go to auction this September.  Read More

One of Prof. Mohseni's 'hurricane drones'

When we think of aircraft that study hurricanes, most of us probably either picture powerful manned airplanes that fly straight through them, or perhaps unmanned drones that fly safely over them. The University of Florida’s Prof. Kamran Mohseni has something else in mind, however. He’s developing tiny unmanned aircraft – and submarines – that will be swept up with the hurricane, gathering data on the strength and path of the storm as they go.  Read More

After almost half a century in service, the revamped Alvin submersible is once again headi...

You would think that a little sub built almost 50 years ago would be sitting in a museum somewhere, but Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin, which launched in 1964, is still going strong. Owned by the US Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Alvin has completed a major US$41 million redesign and refit. The revamped submersible set sail on Saturday aboard its mothership R/V Atlantis for certification testing off the coast of Oregon and California.  Read More

Visitors enter the submarine spa via an underwater corridor

Though at first glance Huvafen Fushi may resemble a James Bond villain’s undersea lair, it is in fact the world's only submarine spa. First opened in 2004, the über-exclusive spa, located in the Maldives' North Male Atoll, was recently redesigned by UK architects Studio RHE.  Read More

The shape that offers the best balanced and best handling stunt machine of the Seabreacher...

Though it fails to fit into any traditional man-made watercraft category, the Seabreacher X is remarkably comfortable in the water, turning quicker than anything made by man and happily skipping across the tops of the waves at 50 mph. This is not surprising given that it's based on a shape refined over 420 million years at the top of the ocean food chain – the shark. Give it more horsepower than Valentino Rossi's MotoGP bike, make it so light that it has the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron and you get the Seabreacher X. Its semi-pressurized hull enables it to tickle your adrenalin glands both above and below the waves, and it rates as the most outrageous boy's toy I have ever sampled.  Read More

Students at the Universities of Warwick and Bath have shared knowledge of submarine design...

Students at the University of Warwick have announced their intention to build a human-powered submarine to compete at that highlight of the human-powered submarine events calendar, the European International Submarine Races in 2014. The team of engineering students hopes that their vessel, already named HPS Shakespeare, will beat the current speed record for a single-seat human-powered sub.  Read More

The ACTUV uses a very high-frequency sonar to take an acoustic image of its target, which ...

The murky details of DARPA's sub-hunting drone project are a bit clearer, thanks to a new concept video published by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). DARPA is spending US$58 million to have SAIC build the first Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vehicle (ACTUV), which will detect and track a growing number of stealthy, inexpensive diesel-electric subs.  Read More

A blind cave fish, that gets around underwater just fine (Photo: Frank Vassen)

Ever wonder how fish can find their way around so easily in murky water? Well, most of them use something called their lateral line – a row of hair cells down either side of their body that detect changes in water pressure caused by movement, or by water flowing around objects. Now, scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and MIT have copied the lateral lines of the blind cave fish, in a man-made system designed to allow autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to navigate more accurately and efficiently.  Read More

U-Boat Worx has launched its new C-Explorer 5 model

Dutch submarine manufacturer U-Boat Worx has been developing it over the past two years, but this September at the 22nd Monaco Yacht Show, it was finally launched – the C-Explorer 5, which the company describes as “the world’s first subsea limousine.”  Read More

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