Billy Thalheimer and Mike Klinker have raised $9.5 million from the likes of Y Combinator, Mark Cuban and Peter Thiel, among other investors, to reimagine the wing-in-ground effect (WIG) concept and turn it into a mainstream means of transportation with zero emissions.
Wing-in-ground effect vehicles are a kind of boat-aircraft hybrid.
They make use of an aerodynamic principle known as “ground effect” to skim the surface of the sea at very high speeds, hovering just a few meters above water. When in port, they simply let their hulls rest on water, like any other boat…
The ground effect vehicle concept isn’t new. The Soviet Union even produced some huge ones for military use, usually referred to as “ekranoplans,” and, more recently, a number of startups, such as Wigetworks in Singapore, the Flying Ship company in the US and RDC Aqualines in Russia, have been working on a new generation of ground effect craft for commercial use, both manned and unmanned.