Addison Lee, the UK’s biggest minicab company, and certainly a popular choice for London travel, has commissioned a team of automotive experts to design and develop a new amphibious minicab – the AquaCab – for use on the River Thames.
Engineers at UVuLab, the University of Venice’s Urban Transportation Laboratory, have been testing a number of prototype vehicles on the Venetian lagoon since January. Their fully-fledged ‘Addphibious’ concept car will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show later this year, with production models scheduled to enter service in summer 2015.
The AquaCab will dramatically cut east-west journey times across London during rush hour, and is expected to be popular among Addison Lee’s corporate customers, many of whom need to travel regularly between central London, Canary Wharf and City Airport. It is estimated that the AquaCab will be able to link Westminster with South Quay in just nine minutes – a trip that can take up to 35 minutes by road.
The new vehicles will be fitted with custom-designed nautical navigation satnav, an advanced gyroscope system for smooth travel on rough waters and will be partially solar powered. As well as expanding its Driver Diploma with a new Seafarer’s Qualification, Addison Lee will also be producing a special waterproof version of its Add Lib magazine for use in the vehicle.
The project was inspired by London Mayor Boris Johnson’s desire to promote use of the Thames for a wider range of commercial and leisure purposes. “The River Thames plays an integral role as both a key artery for commuters and a wonderful avenue for tourists too. We are… looking to the future with plans to build further new piers and to expand existing facilities, remaining on course to reach 12 million passengers travelling on the Thames by 2020,” he said.
Liam Griffin, CEO of Addison Lee said; “The AquaCab is the latest in a long line of innovations from Addison Lee – from SMS booking confirmations to iPhone apps; we always aim to be first to bring Londoners the latest technologies.
“Throughout history, the Thames has played an important role in helping Londoners move around the City, so developing an ‘Addphibious Vehicle’ was a logical evolution of the Addison Lee success story.”