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Daredevil: Would you plunge over Niagara Falls in this vehicle?

Daredevil

Charles Bombardier

Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.

The concept

The Daredevil is a thrill ride boat designed to take the plunge over Niagara Falls with eight people on board. A drag anchor chute would slow it down, and safety features would include shock-absorbing bumpers.

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The Background

This idea came from my friend Olivier Peraldi. He provides feedback on my concepts, and he suggested revising the "barrel jump down Niagara Falls" concept by creating a craft that could safely take the plunge down Niagara Falls with people in it.

I was hesitant to take this idea on, but I finally decided to take a swing at it. This is Olivier's idea, so most of the design comes from him, along with Boris Schwarzer, who drew the rendering.

We tried our best to come up with a cool, safe design, but there is still some work to be done, so your feedback is most welcome. Please use the comments field on this story to share your thoughts.

How it works

The Daredevil, with seating for eight including the pilot, would be built out of a strong material, probably with Kevlar fibre. A highly-resistant transparent canopy on the top of the vehicle would allow every passenger to see clearly . A backup hatch would be located under the Daredevil's hull.

The vehicle could be powered by an electric motor that could recharge on its way up and during boarding. (It could also be equipped with a conventional engine if necessary.) A bow thruster would help keep the craft properly aligned right up to the edge of the fall.

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The shape of the craft will need to be studied and revised. We thought about including stabilizers that would deploy on the side to maintain the craft in a good position during descent – the weight distribution would also favour a nose down orientation. The stabilizers would slow down the descent, but the Daredevil would also need a semi-rigid parachute or a drag anchor to slow down its descent as the craft would otherwise enter the water at 200 km/h .

With the craft slowed down to a reasonable speed, we could concentrate on designing a front bumper on the craft that could absorb part of the impact. The passenger seats could also absorb more of the shock. Five-point seat belts would be mandatory, along with a helmet that could be fixed to the seat with a magnet to stabilize passengers' heads during descent.

What's it used for

Is there a market for such a craft? Yes, there is no doubt about that. Can it be designed to be safe, reliable, and exciting to ride? Most probably with current technology. We've come up with a few ideas, and we'd like your input on how to improve the design to make it simpler, cheaper, and safer. It's an idea that we'd love to see turn into a prototype.

Boris Schwarzer created the image for the Daredevil. Boris is based in Michigan, U.S.A., He went to the College of Creative Studies.

Charles Bombardier is a member of the family that owns Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which are in the business of designing and manufacturing vehicles.

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