How the Gibbs Aquada Works


The Aquada's rear suspension
The Aquada's rear suspension
Photo courtesy Gibbs Aquada

­Other attempts at amphibian vehicles have been less successful because of drag, which is mainly due to an i­nability to retract the wheels. Gibbs has patented several technologies that allow it to retract its wheels like an airplane retracting its landing gear.

As the vehicle enters the water, the driver simply presses a button to trigger the vehicle's four-second transformation. Here are the actions involved in the conversion:

  • The vehicle recognizes it's in the water.
  • The vehicle recognizes it's in appropriate depth.
  • The engine drive to the road wheels is cut.
  • The wheels are retracted.
  • Trim tabs are deployed to an optimized position.
  • Road lights change to marine lights.

­During the transformation, the driver should rev the engine to about 2,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) to provide sufficient thrust to the jet. At this point, the jet is already submerged and begins expelling water to push the Aquada.

The Aquada is an engineering achievement that was made possible by the work of several dozen engineers and designers over the course of seven years. In the next section, we'll discuss the future of the Aquada.