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The world's first hybrid "aeroboat" capable of travelling on land, water, snow and sand has been unveiled.
An Indo-Russian joint venture (JV) built the Aeroboat was unveiled in Moscow at a start-ups event organised by Russia's state-run Skolkovo Foundation. The Aeroboat is designed by IIAAT Holdings, a JV between the International Institute for Advanced Aerospace Technologies and Indian firm Millennium Aerodynamics.
The Aeroboat is developed to reach difficult terrains, such as flooded or marshy areas where the use of traditional boats is made difficult because of shallow water, patches of dry land or by marine vegetation.
The Aeroboat is being demonstrated in and around a pond at the two-day Startup Village annual event in Moscow for technology entrepreneurs and investors organised by Russia's largest innovation fund the Skolkovo Foundation.
The Aeroboat has received 25 orders from private and government buyers in India. The team has already despatched five for use in disaster management. IIAAT Holding board member Sukrit Sharan, who is in Moscow, confirmed to IANS in an e-mail interview about the orders.
He said, "We have already exported around five units to India, both for transportation and disaster management applications. These delivered products are poised to help save hundreds of lives in India during the monsoon season when the regions experience floods,"
He added that the Aeroboat is much faster and more robust compared to a hovercraft. With their success with Indian disaster management authorities, Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations has shown very strong interest in these vehicles, he said.
The Aeroboat can travel at an average speed of 150km/h or more, while a hovercraft can attain an average speed of 45-50km/h. Also, the Aeroboat is robust with an estimated maintenance cost of $400 to $600 (approx. Rs 25,000 to Rs 38,000) per year.
The Aeroboat runs on a hybrid engine, enabling users to switch between petrol and electric power and thereby reducing carbon emission as well as increase energy efficiency.
Additionally, the Aeroboat have been equipped with IoT (Internet of Things) technology. This system allows users to remotely monitor and control and diagnose the equipment, as well as troubleshoot select faults.
The Aeroboat has space for ten passengers and one crew member, and the hybrid Aeroboat can handle steep slopes and embankments and does not depend on marine infrastructure like jetties since the Aeroboat is amphibious.
While hovercraft works on static air-cushion, the Aeroboats work on dynamic air-cushion offering the Aeroboats a huge advantage regarding speed and manoeuvrability.
Hovercraft is considered expensive to operate and also have speed restrictions. The Aeroboat can offer high-speed year-round navigation, even when bodies of water are frozen like in Russia.