Watercraft

  • Ten years ago, François-Alexandre Bertrand had an idea for a novel watercraft that cruised to a site and then lowered its passengers below the water to have a look around. Now the first Platypus Blue Ocean has been sold, and the order books officially opened.
  • ​We hear a lot about aerial and underwater drones, but ones that travel on the water's surface … not so much. They can be quite useful, though, as we discovered when we recently checked out the Heron USV (unmanned surface vessel) at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation.
  • ​Jason Woods began his quest to build an inexpensive, easily hauled personal watercraft back in 2004. He introduced us to the Kymera in 2011, which went electric in 2012 and launched in 2013. In 2016, we spent some time on the water with the body board, and now the Kymera K-X2 has been announced.​
  • ​Stand-up paddleboards may be a lot of fun on the water, but they can also be a hassle to store and transport – especially if your vehicle doesn't have a roof rack. Massachusetts-based startup Artech is out to change that, however, with its modular Easy Eddy.
  • ​Perhaps best-known for its diesel engines and robotic agricultural equipment, Japanese company Yanmar also makes personal watercraft. Its latest addition to the latter category is a little something known as the Wheeebo, which is kind of like an aquatic Segway.
  • Purveyor of pint-sized motorboats Jet Capsule recently put the finishing touches to its latest model, the Royal Version 001. The watercraft boasts significant upgrades over the firm's previous offerings and is bigger, faster, and more luxurious than before.
  • It was just a couple of years ago that we heard about Lift Foils' eFoil, a surfboard-like personal electric hydrofoil. And while it does look like a lot of fun, it also costs US$12,000. China's Waydoo is now about to provide some competition, though, with its $7,999 Flyer.
  • ​It was just last year that we heard about The Bootlegger, a retro mahogany stand-up paddle board made by Minneapolis-based artisan Kevin Fitzke. While it's a beauty to behold, it also costs US$3,299. Well, Fitzke is now back, with the less-pricey but still-classy Speakeasy.
  • ​Wouldn't it be neat if there were a boat with three retractable wheels that allowed it to get in and out of the water on its own? Well there is, and it's made by New Zealand-based Sealegs. Now, the company has unveiled a new electric-drive model, the Electric E4.
  • ​It was back in 2012 that we first heard about the Oru, a touring kayak that can be folded up origami-style when not in use. Well, after releasing a couple of other solo-paddler models in the intervening years, its makers have now unveiled the two-person Oru Haven.
  • Pedal-powered paddle boat (pedalo) designs tends to swing between cutesy kitsch and blandly pragmatic, which is why Beau Lake's Runabout – a paddle boat that actually looks like a boat – is the most ironically out-there thing to happen to these little leisure craft to date.
  • ​Pedestrians and cyclists in the Norwegian city of Trondheim may soon have a quicker option for crossing the canal between the Ravnkloa fish market and the Vestre Kanalhavn dock. Engineers are developing an autonomous electric ferry that could be summoned like an elevator.