Could Electric Seagliders Transform Coastal Travel?

The quest for low-emissions air transport makes a lot of sense. After all, according to the EPA, aviation is responsible for about 10% of all transportation emissions globally — which is good for more than 900 million tons of CO2. Perhaps this is what fueled Boston, Massachusetts-based REGENT to develop what they describe as a new category of vehicle called a seaglider. The zero-emission, all-electric, wing-in-ground vehicle is designed to operate exclusively over water and is being positioned as an environmentally-friendly solution for reducing the time, cost, and carbon footprint of moving people and goods between coastal cities. REGENT’s first seaglider, which they’ve dubbed the Viceroy, can float on its v-shaped hull or reach speeds of up to 40 knots while on the water via the use of retractable rear hydrofoils and eight electric motors. Once it becomes airborne, the aircraft can reach speeds of up to 160 knots. In working to optimize its power, the seaglider only elevates a few meters off the surface of the water, relying on the ground effect phenomenon that creates a cushion of air on which to fly. The hydrofoils, distributed electric propulsion system, and fly-by-wire controls are meant to ensure safer harbor maneuvering and wave tolerance without sacrificing passenger comfort. The company also highlights its use of the Siemens Xcelerator software portfolio in helping to refine the seaglider’s design. 

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