Submarines have always managed to instill a certain fascination in us. With the capability of traveling underwater for long periods at a time, they do something we humans can’t ever hope to achieve. They’ve also been made popular in the entertainment media, giving us the impression of being tough and mean machines. Considering global warming may soon see us living (or commuting to and fro) beneath the waves, novel submarine concepts are being dreamt up. They’re a far cry from what we’re used to seeing in the media but function equally capably.
1. AQUA submersible watercraft
The AQUA submersible watercraft is a one-manned machine concept conceived by Woonghee Han and Sungchul Yang. It serves as a single transportation unit to take humans to their underwater destinations if the time comes when we ever relocate to the oceans. A sliding seat allows easy entry for people of all sizes while twin joysticks work as a steering mechanism. The rear has a single ducted propeller which drives the sub and both sides of the machine have two smaller ducts to control the pitch angle. Batteries, the motor, life support systems and a buoyancy control ballast tank are fitted behind the driver.
2. Virgin Oceanic submarine
Virgin has already made waves with its intention to fly people to the moon and back. Now, it is planning to take underwater enthusiasts to the deepest parts of the ocean – up to 11,000 feet! The first trip has been planned to the Mariana Trench located seven miles beneath the surface. The single seater sub called Virgin Oceanic has been made out of 8,000 pounds of titanium and carbon fiber. To withstand the deep pressures of the ocean, the sub has a quartz dome able to withstand pressures of close to 13 million pounds.
3. Phoenix 1000 submarine by US Submarines
US Submarines has built what is thought to be the largest private luxury submarine. The massive undersea yacht has an interior space of 5,000 square feet and large acrylic viewports. Dubbed Phoenix 1000, the craft can submerge into a quiet environment when waters get choppy. Surprisingly streamlined considering its 1,500-ton displacement, Phoenix 1000 can be customized to accommodate wine cellars, gyms and Jacuzzis.
4. Rinspeed sQuba
sQuba is an underwater vehicle with a difference. Unlike a traditional undersea sub, it looks like a conventional car barring the fact that it can safely submerge. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, sQuba emits no emissions and uses three electric motors, two for water and three for land. The open cockpit is so designed to allow occupants easy entry and exit. Users will need to utilize scuba-style diving regulators when taking sQuba out for a swim which can submerge to 33 feet.
5. U-Boat Worx C-Explorer
U-Boat Worx, a personal submarine creator, has designed the C-Explorer which can take five people, including the pilot, to depths of 100 meters. Passengers will be able to clearly view underwater sights owing to the 360-degree acrylic pressure hull. A lithium-ion battery powers its four electric motors to speeds of 2.5 knots under water and 4 knots on the water’s surface. It can remain beneath the waves for up to eight hours with a max payload of 550 kg.
6. EGO semi-submersible boat
South Korean company, Raonhaje, has built a semi-submersible boat called EGO. A two-person underwater cabin sports comfy seats, an instrument panel and a steering wheel. The strange craft can’t dive which means that the cabin is the only part of it that is submerged. EGO has been conceived as a transport system to seaside resorts and the company is presently working to come up with a four-seater version.
7. AquaStar AS2
AquaStar has developed the AS2, a two-seater submersible scooter which is affordable and easy to handle. It’s based on its predecessor, the single-seater AS1. It can dive to depths of 40 feet at speeds of 3.1 mph. Air supply runs for an hour and ten minutes while batteries last for about two hours. Since AS2 is an open submersible, users can easily get in and out of it to explore underwater surroundings.
8. Deep Flight Super Falcon
Super Falcon is a submersible craft built by Deep Falcon which can seat two people. Two separate cockpits have been created for the pilot and the passenger though Super Falcon can be customized to hold four people. Unlike traditional submersibles, the craft relies on buoyancy instead of a ballast tank. It also has an auto return feature that safely deposits craft and occupants to the surface. Ideal for deployment from shore or super yachts.
9. Scubacraft SC3
Welsh company Creative Worldwide Ltd. has designed a submersible craft which is also a speedboat. The Scubacraft SC3 can carry three occupants, travel up to 50 mph over water and submerge itself to 30 meters. Over water, the SC3 uses an inline four-cylinder, 160 hp, four-stroke engine with waterjet drive. When submerged, it uses four electric thrusters and lithium batteries. Extra batteries and thrusters can be installed for longer operations and power.
10. Apnea submarine concept
Industrial designer, Victor Uribe, has conceived the Apnea submarine concept which can stay underwater for up to two months. Hydrogen fuel cells power the craft which can hold 12 occupants. Ideal for scientific exploration, Apnea’s streamlined design guarantees a low drag coefficient which reduces energy use. A backup battery pack has also been installed if the fuel cells deplete.