A luxury submersible wants to revolutionize underwater experiences forever

Going faster than any submersible has done before.
Ameya Paleja
Artist's rendering of Project Hercules
Artist's rendering of Project Hercules

Dark Ocean Design 

Project Hercules, a collaborative effort between designers of luxury yachts, a submersible design and engineering studio, and makers of civilian submarines is now close to becoming a reality and will revolutionize how people experience and engage with underwater environments, a press release said. The team unveiled designs of its luxury submersible at the recently concluded Monaco Yacht Show.

For the past year, Interesting Engineering has been bringing you stories about how water transport is moving towards electrification, and various companies have been involved in making this transition possible. When it comes to yacht shows, one can expect sustainability to take a back seat while luxury reigns supreme.

Yet, this year's Monaco Yacht Show has shown how electric mobility can also add to the luxuries being offered at sea. Project Hercules is taking underwater luxury to a new level with this submersible.

What does Project Hercules offer?

The submersible under development offers a remarkable concept of "private diving", where the pilot and passengers are separated into two compartments by internal bulkheads, much like an aircraft. Inside the passenger section, one can expect a mini bar, with an oversized day bed and lavish interiors. The pilot's seat can slide forward when leading a dive or cruising inside the water but also move behind and offer privacy to guests when gliding amidst sharks or flying by reef walls.

A luxury submersible wants to revolutionize underwater experiences forever
Top View of the submersible

Just in case one is worried about the situational awareness of the pilot, the submersible will be equipped with external cameras that can feed information into a VR headset to enhance the pilot's field of vision.

How is it being made possible?

Although the concept sounds great, the real challenge lies in making it happen in the real world. It was relatively easy for Jules Verne to write about a diving yacht in the late 1800s, but it took more than 150 years of engineering progress to turn that into reality. Earlier this week, we reported a $25 million superyacht that can dive underwater at will and stay there for up to four days.

Project Hercules is also relying on a similar engineering wonder from the engineering studio, Dark Ocean Design (DOD), to make the luxury submersible possible. DOD has a patent pending on its elliptical Advanced Versatile Acrylics (AVA) pressure hull that has been designed to convey nine people. It becomes a tad bit simpler to fill in luxuries when the design affords a larger space.

Additionally, the team plans to use four large thrusters that will provide an experience of swimming or gliding inside the submersible rather than operating in vertical planes like conventional submersibles. Project Hercules is designed to travel at eight knots (just above nine miles an hour), which is twice the pace of most submersibles today.

A luxury submersible wants to revolutionize underwater experiences forever
Retractable section of submersible

In the forward part of the submersible, a section that can advance or retract on command will handle the horizontal trim of the underwater vehicle while also serving as a collision fender and a selfie camera for guests.

Over the next few weeks, the team plans to complete the fluid dynamic analysis which will be used to decide on the final specification of the craft. A final iteration of the submersible, along with the pricing, can be expected at the upcoming Fort Lauderdale International Yacht Show.

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