I’m a big fan of science fiction. The genre has instilled some high expectations in me for the coming decades, as well as tempered my imagination against vaporware that works only on paper. But it is good to loosen the grip of reality sometimes.
This flying sailboat concept is just such vaporware, although it is neat to look at and speculate on. Designer Damien Grossemy concocted the ship for a supposed around-the-world race by car maker Renault.
While I can’t find any information on this would-be race (said to be slated for 2015), there is supposed to be a World Sky Race happening later this year that will cross over four continents. Damien’s design, called the Zep’Lin, was concocted while he interned at Renault, and it features an unusual vertical design. There are solar panels and fuel cells aplenty, though where exactly people are supposed to sit, isn’t made clear.
Steering is accomplished via a “flexible wing” and propulsion seems to come from a single propeller engine. I like the design, but again, it is little more than fancy right now.
Still, if ever there was a good time to bring back zeppelins, now is that time. Plane tickets are getting more expensive while giving less room (not to mention all those baggage fees) and they cause their fair share of pollution too. A zeppelin or other type of airship, while slower, would have the advantage of much more space to move around, so the extra time on board is more leisurely than cramped. Who knows, maybe Damien’s idea will one day come to life, though in a more toned down fashion. I just really like looking at it.