Automotive

Dual-powertrain Amphibious Responder searches and rescues on land and sea

The Amphibious Responder was designed to transport rescuers and materials into disaster zones
The Amphibious Responder was designed to transport rescuers and materials into disaster zones
View 14 Images
The Amphibious Responder hits the water
1/14
The Amphibious Responder hits the water
The Amphibious Responder has a large deck and a control cabin
2/14
The Amphibious Responder has a large deck and a control cabin
The Amphibious Responder uses separate land and water powertrains
3/14
The Amphibious Responder uses separate land and water powertrains
The Amphibious Responder was designed to transport rescuers and materials into disaster zones
4/14
The Amphibious Responder was designed to transport rescuers and materials into disaster zones
The CAMI AR transforms from 4x4 to boat seamlessly
5/14
The CAMI AR transforms from 4x4 to boat seamlessly
The Amphibious Responder in action
6/14
The Amphibious Responder in action
The Amphibious Responder's squared off bow was designed to push off debris
7/14
The Amphibious Responder's squared off bow was designed to push off debris
The rescue ladder is designed to get responders up to the second floor of a building
8/14
The rescue ladder is designed to get responders up to the second floor of a building
Using separate water and land powertrains, the Amphibious Responder is both rescue boat and 4x4
9/14
Using separate water and land powertrains, the Amphibious Responder is both rescue boat and 4x4
The BioTrike, a hybrid biodiesel reverse-trike is another interesting creation in CAMI's stables
10/14
The BioTrike, a hybrid biodiesel reverse-trike is another interesting creation in CAMI's stables
Unfortunately for those browsing the biodiesel hybrid reverse-trike market, the BioTrike is not currently for sale
11/14
Unfortunately for those browsing the biodiesel hybrid reverse-trike market, the BioTrike is not currently for sale
The Terra Wind is an amphibious motor coach
12/14
The Terra Wind is an amphibious motor coach
The Terra Wind combines an elegant interior with a rugged land-water exterior
13/14
The Terra Wind combines an elegant interior with a rugged land-water exterior
RV camping on the water
14/14
RV camping on the water

Over the past couple of months, our attention has been caught by a couple of monstrous, land/water rescue machines in the form of the Ghe-O Rescue and the ARGO XTI 8x8. The CAMI Amphibious Responder makes three, and it is the largest, most powerful amphibious rescue machine of the bunch.

The Amphibious Responder (AR) is one of the latest creations from the mad laboratory at Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International (CAMI), a South Carolina-based outfit that makes some of the wildest vehicles in the world. These include an amphibious RV and a plug-in hybrid biodiesel three-wheeler (both of which you can check out in the photo gallery).

CAMI describes the AR as an "unsinkable search & rescue vehicle" designed for emergency response in events like hurricanes, fires, tsunamis, oil spills and such. To get a little more descriptive, it goes so far as to say the vehicle is a "first responding, rapid extraction, emergency recovery, mobile ambulatory, firefighting, 4X4, extreme, land & water, disaster relief & response vehicle." That's quite a mouthful, but the AR is quite a piece of machinery.

The Amphibious Responder's squared off bow was designed to push off debris
The Amphibious Responder's squared off bow was designed to push off debris

In developing the AR, CAMI leveraged its decade-and-a-half of experience in amphibious design, creating a rugged platform capable of navigating treacherous, unpredictable, debris-littered lands and waters. That experience includes its patented flotation foam, which the company says adds the "unsinkable" to the unsinkable search & rescue vehicle.

Keeping that unsinkable body moving smoothly across land and water are two separate powertrains. CAMI lists dual 300-hp 6.7-liter diesel engines as the hearts of that split powertrain set-up, but stresses that the vehicle's modular architecture allows it to install the customer's choice of powertrain.

"CAMI is able to install nearly any brand of engine and power train," it explains on its website. "The hull is able to incorporate local governmental approved engines, emission systems, and chassis standards. This makes the Amphibious Responder the world’s first fully modular amphibious power train drive system."

The power and torque from the customer-specified land powertrain are routed through a 4WD system with locking front and rear differentials. When the vessel's marine-grade aluminum alloy hull makes its huge splash in the water, the driver (captain) puts the road transmission into neutral, engages the marine transmission and lets the propeller-based, inboard/outboard marine drive take over forward momentum. A 50-gallon (189-L) fuel tank feeds the engines.

The Amphibious Responder hits the water
The Amphibious Responder hits the water

Thanks to the independent land and marine powertrains, the AR can get the wheels and propeller spinning simultaneously for purposes such as beaching. CAMI estimates speeds of up to 70 mph (112 km/h) on land and 7 knots (8 mph/13 km/h) on the water.

The AR stretches 25 ft (7.6 m) in length, stands 9 ft 7 in (2.9 m) tall and runs 8 ft 2 in (2.5 m) across. The vessel can hold up to 15 persons on its 10 x 7.8-ft (3 x 2.4-m) deck and three-seat, climate controlled captain's cockpit. That cockpit has three entries/exits – a front-central windshield door, a rear door onto the deck, and an escape roof hatch. On the flanks, two offset 50-in (127-cm) doors provide generous room for loading hazmat kits and other emergency equipment and supplies.

Listed equipment for the Responder includes a 15,000-lb winch, a protective roll bar, a spare 18-in wheel/37-in tire, and a deck ladder designed for climbing up to the second floor of a building. The lengthy options list includes an onboard firefighting pump, advanced communications systems, bulletproof glass, and ambulatory/medical equipment.

The AR is capable of traveling nearly anywhere under its own power, but CAMI also designed it with other transport options in mind. It can be air-lifted via helicopter, loaded onto a transport plane or shipped in a standard container.

CAMI launched the Amphibious Responder a little over a year ago and tells us that it's in sales discussions with emergency response parties both in the US and abroad.

The Amphibious Responder video below isn't all that polished, but it does show the amusement park flume-like splash the vehicle makes when diving into the water, along with some dry and wet footage. If you like amphibious vehicles, there are few corners of the internet as worthy of a visit as CAMI's channel.

Source: CAMI

Amphibious Responder Cool Amphibious

7 comments
leonardo73vidal
Nothing new. WWII's DUKWs and later LARC-V are around for a long time.
BigGoofyGuy
I think it would be a great replacement for the DUKW's (ducks) since they will be wearing out and showing their age. I think it is really neat.
History Nut
It is true that the DUKWs are wearing out and need a replacement. This vehicle appears to have plenty of freeboard unloaded. In some flood situations such a large vehicle would not be able to enter some neighborhoods though. It would be nice if they could develop a replacement for the Amphibious Jeep of WWII(model GPA). The essential problem of all amphibians is that they are marginal vehicles and poor boats usually. Filling the hull with foam is a good idea though. There was no mention of price(understandable with all the variables) but I suspect it is in the range only affordable by Gov't and large corporations which is another reason to develop a road-legal, four passenger minimum vehicle. A retired FF that visitied Chicago Fire told me about a LARC 5 that they had modified to work as a fire engine and fireboat and did neither well. LARC 5s had no suspension and are huge, removing them from many rescue situations. Their only virture was they were a fair boat. All amphibs have to trade vehicular quality versus boat quality and can't be best at both so far.
Joe F
@History Nut - How about the M.A.S.K jeep that shot out a separate speedboat. I had that toy as a kid and would love one as an adult ; ) http://www.albertpenello.com/mask/gator.html
BigGoofyGuy
http://www.gizmag.com/watercar-panther-amphibious-jeep-acura-jet-boat-water-fun/28099/ WaterCar has the Panther which is 'Jeep' like vehicle that is amphibious.
Slowburn
The cost should not be too bad because if it is building an amphibious truck is not difficult. The DUKWs that gave decades good service were not the best amphibious trucks that American industry could design and put into production, they were the best amphibious trucks that American industry could design and put into production in 90 days.
Dekarate
I wonder what happens at sand bars? Not enough draft to float across and the wheels won't provide enough traction/lift to drive across.