Surprise yourself! Take a look at the top 10 unusual and innovative personal transportation concepts available for the commercial use today. Most of these are aimed for recreational use, although some have found their use and application in various industries. Once concept vehicles, these are now all available for a price. The only question is, can you afford it?
The Transition is the vehicle that converts from a street-legal automobile to a Light Sport aircraft in 30 seconds. A 100 horse power, four-cylinder engine powers both the craft’s propeller for a maximum airspeed of 115 mph and rear-wheel drive to above 65 mph when on the road. The Flying Car can use its front-wheel drive on roads at ordinary highway speeds, with wings folded, at a respectable 30 miles per gallon.
Once it has arrived at a suitable take-off spot – an airport, or adequately sized piece of flat private land – it can fold down the wings, engage its rear-facing propeller, and take off. The folding wings are electrically powered. When they are folded, the craft easily stores in a home’s garage. Requires a Sport Pilot Certificate to operate. Price: $350,000
Right out of a James Bond movie, this mini submarine is designed for just 2 people, and can descend to a depth of 1,000 feet. Safely and comfortably seated in a completely transparent, climate-controlled acrylic pressure sphere, you can enjoy the view of coral reefs, shipwrecks, and the sea floor, dipping even into the mesopelagic zone, with a chance to see exotic, bioluminescent species such as lanternfish.
With a maximum speed of three knots, The Personal Submarine is powered by a 120- and 24-volt battery bank that provide up to six hours of continuous undersea adventure. A VHF radio provides surfaced communication and its underwater telephone communicates while submerged. It is equipped with a suite of standard instrumentation, including a barometer, thermometer, hygrometer, depth gauges, fluxgate and magnetic compasses, mechanical clinometers, pressure gauges, and a GPS receiver. Price: $2,000,000
If you thought that the flying car was the top innovation in personal transporters, think again. The jetpack has been a major goal of the aerospace industry for over fifty years. Now the first jetpack is available for commercial use. The Martin Jetpack is a result of years of input from a team of engineers and developers worldwide. Originally designed with the leisure market in mind, Martin Aircraft Company has seen strong demand from a wide range of markets, including military, civil defence and recreation.
The Martin Jetpack flies for a reasonable amount of time (30 minutes) at a reasonable speed (up to 100 Kph). It consists of a purpose-built gasoline engine driving twin ducted fans which produce sufficient thrust to lift the aircraft and a pilot in vertical takeoff and landing, enabling sustained flight. Extensive safety features include a rapid deploying parachute, roll cage structure and shock absorbing undercarriage. Price: $100,000
The ultimate big boy’s toy, this amphibious car will never go unnoticed. It’s a monster on the road, with smooth lines, grunty performance and gleaming paint. Once you drive WaterCar Phyton down the boat ramp into the sea, it turns into the jetboat that flies across the water.
The Python has highway-legal and nautical lighting built in. It needs to be registered both as a car and a boat. Price: $170,000
Unlike the WaterCar Python, Rinspeed sQuba is the first car that can actually ‘fly’ under water. It is this submerged stabile flight at a depth of 10 meters that sets the “sQuba” apart from military vehicles. While the latter can go under water, they are limited to driving slowly over the submerged ground.
It is a sure bet that the “sQuba” will steal the show from any ‘Baywatch’ beauty on the beach. And easily, too: You drive the car into the water and the car floats. That is, until you crack the door to let the water in. Immediately the Rinspeed sQuba starts on its way to the underwater world. The occupants’ breathing air comes from an integrated tank of compressed air that divers know from scuba diving.
For safety reasons the vehicle has been built as an open car so that the occupants can get out quickly in an emergency. Created by Frank M. Rinderknecht and his partners, sQuba is a truly unusual vehicle. Base price: $175,000.
This Carbon Chassis Velocipede is the first human powered vehicle made of carbon fiber monocoque chassis, the material used in Formula 1 automobiles, making it ultra light and fast. At a mere 60 lbs. (27kg), this three-wheel vehicle combines the low-impact exercise benefits of a recumbent bicycle with the stability of a three-wheeled cruiser and the aerodynamics of a concept automobile. The cockpit is a slipstream airfoil shape that ensures smooth and consistent speeds.
Inside there is a recumbent seat with adjustable pedals for a customized fit that maximizes comfort and pedal power efficiency. To give it a real car feeling, it even has some of the real car details such as headlight, tail light and turn signals – these are all rechargeable. Price: $14,000
A truly extraordinary vehicle, this Personal Hovercraft is able to reach locations traditional watercraft cannot access, traveling briskly over over smooth surfaces such as ice, water, sand, mud, snow, and short grass, in addition to short distances over asphalt, concrete, or dirt roads. Powered by a 60-horsepower gasoline engine and an efficient 12-volt battery, the craft can go at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. A handlebar-style tiller allows the rider to control the direction and speed, with 60 separate nylon/hypalon coated skirt segments providing a durable base. It is even able to climb small, smooth inclines up to 20%. Requires registration as a boat. Two-person, 400 lb. payload capacity. Price: $17,000
Mosquito XE is the One Person Helicopter, typically used for fun, recreational flight, but can have applied use in ranch herding, running a farm, or getting access to far out fishing spots, among other things. Designed by John Uptigrove, a mechanical engineer by trade, who wanted to make an ultralight helicopter that offers the ability to fly without all the cost and hassle of dealing with air regulations. Mosquito XEL are only permitted to carry five gallons of fuel and hence have a range of just 60 miles. The XE can carry 12 gallons of fuel and so has a range of 150 miles.
Uptigrove believes safety is of essential importance in aviation and supports this by giving his customers discount of US$2,000 on providing proof that they have had helicopter training from a certified instructor to at least the “solo” signoff, or a minimum of 10 hours dual instruction. Complete Helicopter Kit sells for $32,000.
This is a high tech, expedition quality, multi-purpose adventure sailing craft made of modern materials, and with ingenious use of space and propulsion methods. The Crusoe Craft is a fully adaptable go anywhere, do anything mobile home and equipment locker.
Powered by a 9.9HP four-stroke motor the hybrid diesel engine charges the batteries and the intelligent battery management system switches the diesel on automatically when the batteries dip below 75% capacity. The practical nature of the lightweight Crusoe 18ft Trimaran, with its multiple sealed stowage hatches and huge deck area is impressive. Its shape is accordingly very efficient in different ways. The combination of fine bow entry, wide beam and flat hull profile enable the boat to travel with little or no wake when under sail or power.
The adaptable design comes to the fore when you see the number of sailing platforms into which The Crusoe Craft readily adapts. If you’re a fisherman, the Crusoe’s large non-slip deck-space is suitable for fly, spinning or sight fishing. Furthermore, it has a spacious 4m wide “walk-on” deck area that spans the mid-ship’s area. Fishing, kite boarding, surfing, diving or other sporting equipment is easily stowed, courtesy of the sturdy racks and numerous sealed hatches.
Last but not least, the Crusoe trailer, is very much a part of the entire Crusoe system, and as such, it is equally as well designed and constructed as the boat itself. Price: from $45,000
The first monocycle was invented in Marseilles, France in 1869. It has come a long way since to The Motorized Monocycle of today, made in Netherlands. Powered by a 31cc engine, it propels a single rider up to 25 MPH.
The wheel is steered by the passenger leaning to one side or the other. It operates by using a centrifugal clutch on its inner steel frame to engage the larger outer flywheel that rolls on the ground with a rubber tire. The frame is made of fiberglass with a cushioned seat for riders up to 275 lbs. The motorized monocycle can run for up to two hours on less than a 1/2-gallon of gasoline. Price: $13,000
If you’d like to read more about monocycles, here is a great article: Monowheels: The Weirdest Transport Known To Men