Décision began working on the prototype in February 2017 and has completed the final production design, the composite structure and the final assembly of the first SeaBubble for its initial test run in Paris last week.
The SeaBubbles project is the vision of pioneering hydrofoiling yachtsman Alain Thébault and champion windsurfer Anders Bringal who imagined a green urban transportation network that uses the waterways of major cities. Passengers will ride in composite SeaBubble water taxis that move silently above the water surface powered by a clean charging electric drive system. The project has already secured funding as one of the fastest growing start-ups in France, and plans to operate in 50 major cities within the next five years.
For this project it was particularly important for Décision to focus on the future and not just the prototypes. To match the ambitious growth plans of the SeaBubbles project it was vital to consider a robust and cost-effective serial production route from the very beginning. Working alongside the SeaBubbles team, Décision analysed the initial design and delivered a production ready tooling and composite manufacturing process, as well as completing the assembly of the first prototype to a very tight deadline for its launch at the Viva Technology exhibition in Paris.
In addition to satisfying the composite engineering targets for weight and stiffness, the SeaBubble manufacturing process was also required to include a significant percentage of bio-based materials. The SeaBubble’s composite parts are produced using a vacuum infusion process where the sandwich structure, comprising reinforcement fibres and a natural cork core, are infused with a low viscosity epoxy resin with a high bio-based carbon content.
Décision is now on target to complete the remaining prototype SeaBubbles, with the next four units all due to be delivered before the end of September 2017. Following on from this first phase of the project, Décision is expecting to work with SeaBubbles on its latest concept, a larger 15-seater vessel prototype that is also planned for delivery this year.
“Décision is immensely proud to be chosen as an exclusive supplier to the SeaBubbles team and to showcase its prototyping and development expertise in such a high profile and unique application,” comments Grégoire Metz, CEO of Décision. “Having seen the project through from the very start to the completion of a working composite SeaBubble that ‘flew’ on the Seine last week, I am confident that flying water taxis will very soon be an everyday reality.”