Geek websites across these great Internets have chronicled the continued interest in a dead-simple personal submarine. Whether it’s motivated by over indulgence or a longing human urge to explore, people seem to really want a way to merge the comfort of diving a car with the beauty of marine life. The Ego Semi-Sub, from Raonhaje, promises to deliver that experience safely and easily.
What sets the Ego apart from the (albeit extremely limited) competition is that it’s a semi-sub, meaning that it never completely submerges and cannot control its buoyancy. The two floats on top provide the boyancy, while the craft is controlled from the cabin slung underneath. Like a pontoon boat, but with a car below the water. Thrusters on the back provide propulsion, and the whole thing is electric powered, going 4-8 hours on a charge. I must admit, that I am intrigued. But I am skeptical.
For instance, it’s not clear to me how you’re supposd to drive the thing from underwater. There might be an onboard camera system, giving you an above water view, but I wonder if that’s really good enough to keep an eye on surface traffic. I guess you’ll just have to get really good at guessing where other boats are. Also, this thing must have something like a six-foot draft underneath the surface, which really limits where you could park such a beast.
Obviously, this is targeted at the ultra-rich or at tropical resorts. And despite my love of submarines and undersea life, all I can see are high-fashion fools hopped up on champagne and caviar, laughing wildly as they plow their ultra-safe semi-submarines into coral reefs. But that’s my inner-cynic. I know full-well that if I were presented with the keys to an Ego semi-sub, I would be underwater in a heartbeat.