The EGO semi-submersible boat is a vehicle designed and manufactured in South Korea by a company called Raonhaje. The unusual vessel is basically a small boat with a two-person underwater cabin attached beneath. You access the underwater bit via a hatch in the center of the boat, and climb down a short ladder. In the submerged section of the EGO are a couple of comfy looking seats, a steering wheel and an instrument panel. Oddly it seems, the EGO can only be controlled when you’re under the waves – which might make solo dockings an interesting and frustrating task!
Powering the EGO are a pair of thrust vectoring electric propellors, one mounted on each pontoon. They’re capable of propelling the EGO at up to 5.7 mph (9.2 km/h). At cruising speed the batteries last for around eight hours, and at full speed you’ll run out of juice after four hours. A full recharge takes between six and nine hours.
Raonhaje have tried to make the EGO semi-submersible boat as easy to operate as possible. It can’t dive so that takes care of that tricky control problem. The throttle control is via a foot pedal, with forward and reverse being selected with a simple switch, a steering wheel provides directional control. A camera mounted on the upper deck provides a video relay to a small LCD screen on the instrument panel so the people below can see what’s happening on the surface. A digital depth sounder with audio warning tells the driver when the water is getting dangerously shallow for the craft to operate in.
In case you’re worried that a slight knock on the window will result in an unexpected and rather violent salty bath, the EGO’s windows are made from 20mm thick (0.8 inch) thick acrylic which is 200 times stronger than glass of equivalent thickness. It’s the same stuff used to make those massive aquariums you see in marine parks and zoos.
The EGO semi-submersible boat is aimed primarily at luxury seaside resorts. They’re currently developing a four-seater version which should broaden its appeal as a tourist vehicle.