Rinspeed to debut submersible sQuba in Geneva

CNET Car Tech covers Rinspeed's preview of its sQuba concept.

The Rinspeed sQuba
The Rinspeed sQuba flies underwater. Really. Rinspeed

Rinspeed, a boutique automotive design company, plans on blowing away the upcoming Geneva auto show with its sQuba concept, a car that swims underwater, drives autonomously on land, and is emission-free. The car, based on a Lotus Elise, uses an electric motor to drive the wheels on land, plus two other motors to drive propellers underwater. According to Rinspeed, it uses a laser system to detect obstacles ahead so that it can drive itself. Rinspeed released video of the sQuba, showing that it really can swim underwater.

Rinspeed's video of the sQuba.
Click here to see Rinspeed's video of the sQuba. Rinspeed

Sound familiar? James Bond's Lotus swam underwater in the 1977 movie, The Spy Who Loved Me. Of course, that was movie magic. The sQuba can float on the surface and--when the driver floods the open-top cabin--the car will submerge. Rather than sinking to the bottom, it can travel through the water at depths up to 10 meters. Along with its rear propellers, it has small water jets on the sides. Yes, the occupants will get wet, but an integrated scuba tank means they can breathe. Rinspeed points out that the interior materials won't be harmed by contact with salt water, although your tuxedo probably won't fare so well.

Look for our coverage of the sQuba and other cars at the 2008 Geneva Auto Show, starting March 4.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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