Kiwi entrepreneur and rich-lister Alan Gibbs has unveiled his latest amphibious vehicle in Washington DC, which he says has potential for military use as well as emergency and humanitarian responses.
Gibbs Technologies' 10m, 500-horsepower Phibian was displayed on the Potomac River, in front of US military engineers ahead of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) annual conference yesterday.
Constructed primarily of carbon fibre, the Phibian offers all-terrain capability on land. When transitioning from land to water, the wheels retract and dual jet propulsion kicks in, which Gibbs says delivers performance equal to that of purpose-built patrol and rescue boats
The Phibians are capable of travelling at up to 130km/h on land and more than 60km/h on water
Gibbs said the vehicle had been developed for general transport, search and rescue and law enforcement operations.
“When conducting search and rescue missions, whether it be for an
individual or following a natural disaster, time is of the essence,”
“A vehicle that can perform as well as a multi-terrain vehicle on land while reaching planing speeds on the water means that response will be significantly faster and more seamless.”
Gibbs built his first amphibious vehicle in 1995 so he could drive his boat from the water to his bach without the need for a trailer.
Gibbs Technologies has been developing amphibious vehicles since 1996 and holds more than 100 patents but is yet to deliver a product to a customer.
The Phibian is the company's fourth high-speed amphibious vehicle.
Another Gibbs invention, the Aquada, launched with a bang in 2004 when Sir Richard Branson used one to set a new record for crossing the English Channel.