High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology is a group of enabling technologies and expertise that makes possible the creation of vehicles that can travel in excess of 30mph on water and reach land speeds equivalent to that of similar land vehicles. HSA technology represents over 2.5 million man hours of development, advanced engineering, 2 decades of refinement and experience which has generated over 350 patents and patents pending worldwide. Gibbs IP strategy protects and maintains its leadership in the field. HSA technology has 4 key areas of innovation consisting of; Powertrain, Hull, Water Jet, & Suspension.
All Gibbs vehicles use a single engine for providing power on both land and water. In most cases this involves the development of an additional PTO (Power Take-Off) to allow the engine to drive both the water jet and the wheels. This also allows the wheels to be disengaged from the drive when in full marine mode. The whole powertrain system undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it is reliable in both road and marine applications.
One of the many significant innovative features within all HSA Products is the hull and body architecture. Gibbs has undertaken significant hydrodynamic development of the hull surfaces in all its HSA platforms, allowing the hull to perform well at high speeds on the plane, whilst managing the additional complexities of wheel retractions. Within every platform configuration there is a fine balance between weight, cost and performance. Gibbs expertise has extended to composite hulls, monocoque carbon bodies, aluminium space frames, subframes and monocoque aluminium bodies.
The jet system has undergone a huge amount of development in order to minimise the length and weight, typical of many water jets. Manufactured from cast alloys, the larger diameter jet provides greater acceleration on water at low speeds, increased manoeuvrability and a reduction in the time taken to get onto the plane. The water jet is a scalable proprietary design, used in all HSAs produced by Gibbs.
The patented suspension design, whilst providing excellent automotive ride and handling on land, is also designed to lift the wheels clear of the water, necessary for minimising marine drag. Without the drag of the wheels the Amphibians can reach higher water speeds as a planing vessel. The retraction process takes just 5 seconds at the touch of a single switch, allowing a seamless and simplistic transition between land and water modes.
Patents and IPR
Gibbs has over 350 patents and patent applications for the most crucial elements required to create a true and successful High Speed Amphibian vehicle. These include:
- Whole-vehicle patents
- System-level patents, which cover vehicle systems required to overcome engineering challenges associated with the High Speed Amphibian functionality of the vehicles (including wheel suspension and retraction/protraction systems, cooling systems, body structural systems, steering systems, safety/transition systems, hydrodynamics, jet drive systems and powertrain)
- Component-level patents, which cover the only viable solution to some of the challenges of High Speed Amphibian functionality
Gibbs has an active research and development programme, with unpublished patent applications filed and pending and new patent applications in process.