An ambitious “flying taxi” dubbed “a James Bond car for everybody” has been stopped by police during a test run above the River Seine in Paris.
Officers in the French capital intercepted the electric vehicle as they believed it was travelling too quickly, despite assertions by the startup firm behind the project that it had permission to breach the usual speed limit.
Anders Bringdal, co-founder of Seabubbles, told The Independent the taxi “has the right to go at 30kmph (18.6mph)”, well above the normal river restriction of 12kmph (7.5mph), and that police were happy for it to continue operating once relevant paperwork had been checked.
The firm has been testing the so-called hydrofoil vessel with a view to rolling out an entire fleet across Paris next year, followed by other cities in Europe and the US.
The futuristic cab is designed to “hover” above the water – creating no noise, waves or pollution – and it is hoped that customers would be able to hire one via an Uber-style app.
On its website, which is headed by the tagline “make our cities flow again”, Seabubbles states: “Think James Bond car, available for everybody, but with zero wave, zero noise, zero CO2 emission.
“We make the riding experience on waterways the best possible so that people will be glad to choose the most eco-conscious transport solution.”
Seabubbles is far from the only company seeking to take advantage of increased drive for electric vehicle options, with autonomous taxis tipped to become a feature of major cities in the coming years.
Plans are motoring on despite safety concerns, which were heightened last year when a self-driving Uber car fatally crashed into a woman walking her bike across the road in the US.
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Elon Musk has claimed that robots will be behind the wheel of a network of Tesla taxis from 2020, which will compete against similar plans by the likes of Uber.
Rolls Royce is also making moves in the taxi space and last year unveiled an electric vertical take-off and landing system it said could pave the way for flying taxis that produce minimal noise pollution.
And traditional taxi firm Addison Lee says it has struck an agreement with Oxbotica, an Oxford-based startup specialising in autonomous software, to launch self-driving taxis in London by 2021.