Sunday, November 8, 2009

sQuba - The Car that Dives & Drives Underwater

Who Said Cars Can't Dive?

After the Python Watercar, here comes the sQuba Car... taking car hobbyist to the next level!
Rinspeed sQuba Car 04 The Swiss designers from Rinspeed have created the sQuba, which comes complete with scuba-like breathing equipment for both the driver and passenger, allowing you to enjoy a James Bond moment at depths of up to 30 feet below the surface of the waves.

With the “sQuba,” the world’s first real submersible car, the movie animations now becomes reality for visitors of the Geneva Motor Show (March 6th - 16th, 2008). Rinspeed boss Frank M. Rinderknecht (52) is known for his extraordinary automotive creations. The acknowledged James Bond enthusiast and Swiss automobile visionary kept revisiting this scene in his mind over and over: For three decades, he tried to imagine how it might be possible to build a car that can fly under water. Now he had made this dream come true.

Rinspeed sQuba Car 05Rinspeed sQuba Car 02

It is this submerged stabile flight at a depth of 10 meters that sets the “sQuba” apart from military vehicles. While the latter can go under water, they are limited to driving slowly over the submerged ground. “It is undoubtedly not an easy task to make a car watertight and pressure resistant enough to be maneuverable under water. The real challenge however was to create a submersible car that moves like a fish in water”, said Rinderknecht.

It also had to be a sports car that was converted into a diving dream in the facilities of Swiss engineering specialist Esoro. In a first step the combustion engine was removed and replaced by several electric motors. Three motors are located in the rear. One provides propulsion on land, the other two drive the screws for underwater motoring.  They are supported by two powerful Seabob jet drives in the front, which ‘breathe’ through special rotating louvers from HS Genion (for opening and closing the water intake). The rotating outlet jets were designed to be extremely light yet twist resistant by using high-tech nano materials, so-called Carbon Nano Tubes.

Rinspeed sQuba Car 01 Rinspeed sQuba Car 06

It is a sure bet that the “sQuba” will steal the show from any ‘Baywatch’ beauty on the beach. And easily, too: You drive the car into the water and the car floats. That is, until you crack the door to let the water in. Immediately the “sQuba” starts on his way to the underwater world. The occupants’ breathing air comes from an integrated tank of compressed air that divers know from scuba diving.  Rinderknecht: “For safety reasons we have built the vehicle as an open car so that the occupants can get out quickly in an emergency. With an enclosed cabin opening the door might be impossible.”

Watch the car in action:

Safety wasn’t the only reason for choosing an open-top design: With an enclosed volume of just two cubic meters of air the vehicle weight would have to increase by two tons to counteract the unwanted buoyancy, giving the “sQuba”  the land mobility of a turtle. Without occupants the “sQuba” surfaces automatically. It is even capable of autonomous driving on land thanks to a sophisticated laser sensor system from the Hamburg company Ibeo - without any help from the driver or passenger.



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