Aquaticar is a patented underwater adventure experience featuring 17, two-passenger vehicles that are propelled along an underwater track using only the uplift force of bubbles to generate motion.
Guests board the vehicle from a “dry load” conveyor station which slowly transitions the cars onto a gravity descent slope. Once released, the vehicles plunge into the water, down to a track depth of 9 feet (2.7 m). Guests’ upper bodies remain dry inside a mostly clear acrylic canopy. Passengers feel the immersion of water while being surrounded by a fully themed aquatic environment complete with synchronized special effects, exciting audio sounds, and narration.
Aquaticar is the world’s first ride system to be externally powered by clean compressed air. Electricity for the compressed air system is supplied by Qiddiya’s 100% solar-powered electrical grid system.
To minimize electrical use and increase efficiency, Aquaticar vehicles are introduced onto the track according to passenger load demand. This translates to maximum efficiency of compressor run time without any excess use of power.
Vehicles are manually introduced onto the course via a gravity fed slope, reducing the number of motor-powered conveyors.
The conveyor system is designed for easily removing vehicles from the course as passenger demand changes throughout the day. Fewer vehicles on course lessens the load on the compressor and thus decreases overall electrical use.
The compressor systems utilize vegetable grade oil lubricant to eliminate petroleum hydrocarbon wastewater contaminants.
The Aquaticar ride design incorporates only the highest quality components and materials to provide maximum longevity, and to reduce consumption of spare parts or replacement materials throughout the anticipated ride lifecycle.
Aquaticar is a patented underwater adventure experience featuring 17, two-passenger submersible vehicles that are propelled along an underwater track using only the uplift force of bubbles to generate motion. During the ride, passengers’ upper body remains dry inside the car’s air canopy with continuous air flow, while their lower half is submerged in the water, immersed in the sensations of the aquatic surroundings.
Guests board the vehicle from a “dry load” conveyor station which slowly transitions the cars onto a gravity descent slope. Once released, the vehicles plunge into the water, down to a track depth of 9 feet (2.7 m). Vehicles steer within the shape of the track, which is curbed to keep the vehicles on course. As the vehicle travels along the track, it mechanically engages a series of air register wands that cause the release of air beneath the car. A portion of the air is directed toward the car’s viewing canopy, providing three times more air than is normally needed for breathing. The rest of the air is released into the car’s Bubble Engine™.
Air in the Bubble Engine is captured by large scoops located in a pair of rotors. The force of the air as it tries to escape to the surface creates impressive torque that turns the rotors, and then transmits power and propulsion to a pair of drive wheels located at the back of the vehicle. Passengers hear the “chug chug chug” of bubble exhaust as the car drives along the track at a comfortable speed of 70 ft/min (21 m/min).
The underwater journey takes riders through a newly discovered archaeological site in the Red Sea containing ancient ruins, shipwrecks, artifacts and a mysterious kelp forest; all rumored to be guarded by a mythical creature. Sensors along the course trigger special effects while synchronized audio entertainment adds to heighten the excitement. The underwater experience lasts about four and a half minutes, and has capacity to accommodate 300 passengers per hour, ages 5 and older.
Aquaticar will debut as part of the much-anticipated Qiddiya Water Theme Park, featuring several “world’s first” experiences. Qiddiya is located 40 km outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Sub Sea Systems’ Aquaticar pushes the boundaries of attraction innovation as the first ride system to bring theme park-type storytelling to a water park environment. Aquaticar physically transports passengers to another world, a mostly unfamiliar environment– underwater. And this world has endless opportunities for theming and storytelling– such as the fantastic archaeological discovery on Qiddiya’s Aquaticar ride.
The majority of the world’s population is unable to swim or has never been snorkeling or diving. With the submersible vehicle’s unique design and passenger breathing canopy, Aquaticar continues to fulfill Sub Sea Systems’ mission of making the underwater world accessible to practically anyone.
Sub Sea Systems’ team has a rich history in the design and construction of submersibles, semi-submersibles and helmet diving systems. This knowledge and skillset has been applied to the design and development of Aquaticar. For example:
- With its unique design, the vehicle’s Bubble Engine produces over 70 ft-lbs (95 Nm) of torque to the drive wheels simply by capturing the uplift force of air bubbles.
- To counter the nearly 9 cu/ft (.25 cu/m) of air space within the vehicle’s air canopy, which produces 575 lbs (261 kg) of buoyancy or uplift force, the vehicle had to be robustly designed and weighs approximately 1,500 lbs (680 kg) out of water.
- The vehicle’s wheels are entirely custom made, constructed of water-resistant materials, with specially designed siping to provide the right amount of traction while allowing lateral slippage through turns.
- The scoops on the rotors are shaped to maximize the capture of air. The scoops hold onto the air from the 6:00 o’clock to 12:00 o’clock position, then at the most efficient moment, quickly release the air at the critical high point, while continuing the down stroke rotation with the least amount of hydrostatic drag. Sub Sea Systems tested multiple rotor designs in a custom acrylic paneled tank with torque meters and high-speed cameras to analyze the various dynamic elements.
- The ride system incorporates numerous safety features, including four levels of emergency air supply. The vehicle even has an onboard Emergency Lift System that will release air bags to raise the vehicle to the surface of the water in the event of an emergency or mechanical breakdown.
- An antenna on the vehicle travels above the surface of the water for several uses:
- Transmitting ride control data to the Control Room, including vehicle positioning on course, audio narration for ride entertainment, two-way audio communication for emergencies and visual communication via a CCTV camera.
- Tracking the total number of vehicles on course for regulating air supply.
- Tracking vehicle data for maintenance, routine testing procedures and inspections.
- Triggering optical sensors along the course for synchronized special effects within the theming, audible sounds or voice narration.
Nearly every aspect of the car, the track, and the air supply system are thoughtfully designed with custom components specifically for the underwater environment and patented Aquaticar ride system.
Sustainability also plays a large factor in the design of the Aquaticar ride. Aquaticar is the world’s first ride system to be externally powered by clean compressed air.
- The ride vehicles are powered entirely by air bubbles. Externally powered without engines, oil, exhaust, or batteries.
- The compressed air systems utilize vegetable grade oil lubricant to eliminate any petroleum hydrocarbon wastewater contaminants.
- The system is designed to add or remove vehicles from the course depending on passenger demand, thus reducing power consumption to the most efficient level.
- Vehicles are manually introduced onto the course via a gravity fed slope, reducing the number of motor-powered conveyors.
Lastly, Aquaticar is the first ride that takes passengers underwater and allows them to fully feel the water environment around them. Riders feel the splash as they descend into the water, the tickle of bubbles around them, and the dense movement of water as they drive along the course. The sensation of physically being immersed in this foreign environment is tangible, psychological (challenging to the mind that you’re breathing while underwater), awe-inspiring, and truly unlike any other ride.
More information can be found here.