An ocean-crossing vessel that can adapt its movements to the surface of the sea has undergone sea trials in San Francisco.
Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel (WAM-V), also known as the Proteus adjusts to the surface of the sea rather than forcing the water to conform to its hull. As a result, it has very low fuel consumption and creates minimal wake, even at high speed, making it more environmentally friendly.
According to its designers, the 100ft (30m) vessel can be used for applications ranging from search-and-rescue and patrolling to leisure and research.
Its superstructure is made from titanium, aluminium and reinforced fabrics, and is flexibly connected to pontoons by components that move in relation to one another.
Like a car, it uses springs, shock absorbers and ball joints to minimise stresses to the structure, payload and crew. Two engine pods containing the propulsion and ancillary systems are fastened to the hulls with special hinges that keep the propellers in the water at all times.
Proteus is modular in design, so if the engines have to be serviced or repaired, they can be swapped with identical units to ensure that the vessel remains operational in the meantime.
Likewise, the vessel’s payload can also be switched with a different one in less than an hour. In most versions, this payload consists of a self-contained craft that can lower to the surface, detach and operate under its own power.
The Proteus can be custom-built to different lengths to match specific applications and can be easily disassembled so that all parts can fit into standard containers.
It also features highly manoeuvrable inflatable hulls and can be beached without damage to deliver cargo or personnel.