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.
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.