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# Floating platform for cars

Inflate the platform and park the car on it
 (+4) [vote for, against]

I live near a river and often need to cross it. If I had a small boat, it wouldn't help, I need a car on both sides of the river.

So I would always carry in the car an inflatable platform, that I place partially on the water, connect to car's exhaust and inflate in 2 minutes. Then I park the car on the platform, rear wheels fit into holes in floor that fix the whole car, front wheels go over rotating cylinders that are connected to a small propeller. These cylinders can also be tilted by the car's steering wheel, this tilt is transferred to the platform's rudder.

Now you have a comfortable air conditioned 5 seat boat that you can take inside your car wherever you go.

 — slovakmartin, Jul 13 2012

[mitxela, Jul 14 2012]

Car flotation airbag system Car_20flotation_20airbag_20system
Ten years ago ... [8th of 7, Jul 15 2012]

 I think i could just barely fit such a device, sturdy and floaty enough to carry my car-weight but longbed 2 seater pickup, uninflated in the bed itself... covered by the camping cap.

 No idea how you're going to pull it off in a passenger automobile.

Math ?
 — FlyingToaster, Jul 13 2012

 Beter to permanently mount it to the underbody of the car with the base made out of an an unclampable skid plate. You unclamp the plate, inflate, and go.

 I also suspect the exhaust wouldn't work to inflate it, the engine may not take the back pressure. Installing a small electrically driven pump is fairly simple.

 As far as the math... Let's take a car weighing 3000 lbs, that is 6' x 13'. With water at 64.4 lb/ft^3, you would need to displace about .6 feet (7") under the car to provide neutral buyoancy.

 If you allow the raft to extend 1 foot each side of the car (recommended for stability), about 5" will do it. Admittedly, you want better than neutral bouyancy, but this can be accomplised by allowing the raft to wrap up the side of the car a little bit, which will help with minor waves/turbulence.

An 8 inch thick inflatable air-mattress will collapse into a layer less than an inch thick, which would fit easily underneath most cars. The propeller and steering mechanism would be a little more bulky, but hardly prohibitively so, since a similarly sized outboard will fit into most car trunks. (And if you are going to say an air mattress is to flimsy, a similarly sized, multi-chamber white water raft still collapses into less than an inch.)
 — MechE, Jul 13 2012

Well, I liked this.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 14 2012

 Ah, but imagine chancing upon a sparkling ribbon of emerald water, in the midst of gently rolling hills. Across the water, a leaf-strewn ribbon of road winds through the trees, caressing the gentle curves of hills kissed by the golden evening sun.

 Curious to see what pleasures await you across the river, you slide your raft onto the warm grassy bank, casually slip the inflation hose over your exhaust pipe, then sit back in the driver's seat admiring the view. A sudden glint of metallic turquoise flashes past as a kingfisher makes his rounds.

 Hearing the gentle hiss of the pressure relief valve, you ease yourself out of the car, disconnect the hose, and drive gently down onto the ramp. You sit for a while, letting the water bob you idly up and down, before putting the car into first and cruising, like a steamboat captain, across the waters to see what awaits you on the other side.

There - see? It all depends how well you imagine things.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 14 2012

Convenience? This is the 'bakery. The more complex the better - convenience has to take a back seat to...well, to the inflatable thingy in the front seat, back seat, and trunk.
 — normzone, Jul 14 2012

 //a similarly sized, multi-chamber white water raft still collapses into less than an inch//

 Is that built to hold 2 tons ?, ie: 10-15 people.

//bridge// you can buy a bailey for about 50c/lb. Not that I'm necessarily on the "build a bridge" side here, I just can't imagine an inflatable raft as being that robust.
 — FlyingToaster, Jul 14 2012

 //ie: 10-15 people//

 Eight to twelve, but the limitation is that people are essentially vertical cylinders, whereas the base of a car is essentially a flat plate. The outer walls of the raft (multi chamber, about 18" in diameter) are more than thick enough and collapse to the inch I mentioned. Start with those and make the center section the width of the car and about 12" thick (rather than the 4" for people to sit in) and you have more than enough flotation, in something with construction durable enough to bounce off rocks and down waterfalls.

Not that I'd recommended waterfalls with your car, but it should be more than good enough for flat water.
 — MechE, Jul 14 2012

hmm... okay [+] it was the "inflatable platform" (like an air mattress) that threw me. An inflatable-like-a-kiddies-pool sounds better.
 — FlyingToaster, Jul 15 2012

 21 Quest, suggesting a bridge is like suggesting pouring asphalt in the woods instead of driving an offroad car :) Much different environmental impact and price.

 Exhaust for inflating is used for quite some time, see e.g. http://news.cnet.com/ 8301-17938_105- 10029912-1.html

 Convenience is something to work on for version 2.0. Owning a boat is not much more comfortable, you have to take care of it separately, fill with gas, clean the submerged parts, servicing is a pain...

I really like the idea of mounting it under the car, solves the problem with drying, but creates many more hard to solve problems - where do you inflate it? On the ground? Then you jump inside the car until it slowly jumps into the water :)
 — slovakmartin, Jul 15 2012

To solve the getting-into-the-water problem, you could inflate the front and rear sections consecutively. Park with the front wheels as deep in the water as the car will stand, then inflate the front section until the front of the car is floating. Then drive forward until the rear wheels are likewise submerged as far as allowable, before inflating the rear section.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 15 2012

 Further to what [MechE] said, cars are much lighter than an equivalent volume of water. The main thing that stops them acting as boats is that they leak. And I really can't imagine driving onto a rubber raft, unless it is rather oversized and has a fully rigid floor (like a Zodiac).

So the best bet might be something that wraps around, and waterproofs, the bottom of the car, exploiting the car's own structural rigidity and volume. Getting into the water would still be tricky, unless you can form a seal around the axles with the wheels on the outside.
 — spidermother, Jul 15 2012

 Ooh ooh! I know! A carzorb!

 Unzip the zorb, lay it in front of the vehicle, drive on to it, zip it shut over the car's roof. Then inflate using the exhaust and...

ah, hang on.
 — MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 15 2012



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