- Trips that the seaglider can do in under an hour that woud take normal travel a couple hours
- Where the founders went to school as well as where the founders have worked in the aerospace industry
Boston-based start-up backed by some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors wants to turn the sea lanes along the country’s east and west coasts into high-speed transit corridors. Trips such as LA to San Diego in 50 minutes will be possible if REGENT’s seagliders become a reality, and all this without road traffic or airport hassle.Regent’s founders have degrees in aerospace engineering from MIT and a stint at Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences. Billy Thalheimer and Mike Klinker have raised $9.5 million from the likes of Y Combinator, Mark Cuban and Peter Thiel, among other investors, to reimagine the wing-in-ground effect (WIG) concept and turn it into a mainstream means of transportation with zero emissions.
REGENT claims to have solved this quandary by introducing some novel elements, to the point that its founders are positioning its wing-in-ground effect craft as an entirely new category of vehicle, which they call “seagliders.” The seaglider combines wing-in-ground effect and hydrofoil technologies. It’s a hybrid that preserves key advantages of ground effect vehicles while tackling some of their disadvantages.
The seaglider has a retractable foil which lets it switch between configurations, depending on what stage of the voyage it’s at. When in enclosed waters, such as ports, it will operate as a hydrofoil for more maneuverability, but once it reaches the open sea, it will retract the foil and get into wave-skimming mode as a pure ground effect vehicle. The foil will also insulate the hull from the motion of the waves during the transition stage as the seaglider accelerates into airborne mode.