As 2017 draws to a close, you might be wondering what amazing new technology the next year will bring. Well, there is already something fresh in 2018 for you to try: a surprising new type of underwater vehicle that will allow almost anyone to experience driving underwater in a safe and immersive environment, while still being able to feel the water and sea life around you. Imagine hopping into a car and driving under the sea among tropical fish, natural reefs, or even around a simulated Lost City of Atlantis. This newly developed car will be available in 2018 and will let people share underwater experiences together that were once only available to those with Scuba training.
California-based Sub Sea Systems, has developed the new Aquaticar™ vehicle to provide the world’s first underwater driving experience. No scuba experience is needed and families (with children as young as 5 years old) can ride together, sharing an underwater voyage. Because you don’t need a dive mask (you breath the air pumped into the cabin of the car), you can talk to your driving companion too. And, there's no need to remove your glasses! The Aquaticar is driven on a track which makes it best suited for a water theme park environment. It is no wonder that when the Aquaticar™ was unveiled at the 2017 IAAPA expo (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) last month, it won a "Best New Product Concept Award" at the show.
How the Aquaticar™ Works
The experience begins above water as passengers load into height-adjustable seats of the Aquaticar™ and then a large acrylic viewing canopy is placed overhead. Loaded vehicles enter a specialized track where the cars descend into the water. Guests stay dry from mid-chest up, but feel the rush of water as they steer their vehicles through an adventurous environment.
Vehicles travel underwater along a track complete with straightaways, curves, and hairpin turns. As vehicles move along the specialized track, a flow of air is released into the car which also feeds the car’s Bubble Engine™, which harnesses the uplift force of air bubbles to propel the car forward.
Rapid Prototyping the Aquaticar™ Wheel for Real Life Use
Sub Sea Systems wanted to launch the new Aquaticar™ at the IAAPA expo, but still needed wheels for the display unit. With only four weeks to go before the show, Sub Sea turned to Globe Composite Solutions to design and fabricate the new all-composite wheel for the Aquaticar™. Globe’s rapid prototyping team was able to deliver fully functional parts in 3 weeks, just in time for the show.
As Kyle Mayfield, the VP of Production for Sub Sea noted:
"With a critical project deadline looming, Globe's rapid response to our unique request was only bested by the end result, which met and exceeded our expectations."
If you’re looking for fully functional prototype parts where 3-D printed parts simply aren’t robust enough to handle your application, then contact Globe Composite Solutions. Globe’s design engineers, chemists and machine shop professionals will take the time to understand your needs of your new part and produce production-ready parts for testing and first-article acceptance. And, Globe can redesign existing metal, plastic or rubber parts to radically improve the performance of your existing product as well.