Forget boring underground tunnels because one startup is developing an “electric seaglider” that can travel upwards of 180mph. We’re talking about Regent, a startup that just received $9 million in funding for its ambitious new coastal cities transportation system.
Think of it like an electric taxi that hovers above the water at high speeds. The company wants to help transition away from fossil fuels during passenger transportation, without being a plane or a car. Basically, Regent wants to make trips between coastal cities fast, affordable and efficient. Plus, it’s prettier to look at the coastline than sit in a train or tunnel. For those wondering, REGENT stands for “Regional Electric Ground Effect Naval Transport.”
The Regent craft can dock or take off from harbors thanks to a hydrofoil, and any straight water path is the runway. The company aims to make each seaglider work seamlessly with existing harbor structures and facilities, although it’ll need to install charging stations throughout.
Not only do co-founders CEO Billy Thalheimer and CTO Michael Klinker have connections in aerospace and robotics, but they’re both FAA-licenced pilots and have work experience with a Boeing company and Aurora Flight Sciences.
You can call it a flying ferry, a seaglider, or even a hover taxi, and the project has a lot of people and big cities interested. The first round of funding totals $9 million thanks to Caffeinated Capital, Mark Cuban, Founders Fund ran by Peter Thiel, Y Combinator, to name a few.
Regent’s seaglider is considered a Wing in Ground Effect craft, or WIGs, which means it won’t have to deal with the FAA approval process, and instead will work with the Coast Guard. As a result, it aims to have the project up and running faster than a typical new airline company.
The startup hopes to do some test flights in the Boston area, eventually offering passenger travel in coastal cities or big hubs like L.A. to San Francisco. Not to mention shorter trips between Hawaii Islands or from NYC down the coastline.