When disaster strikes, this amphibious truck rolls (or floats) into action

It’s fun to imagine which vehicle would be best for surviving the zombie apocalypse, but what about something designed to deal with actual disasters?

Gibbs Amphibians has found a niche building truly all-terrain vehicles like the ATV/jet-ski-hybrid Quadski, but its latest project is a little more serious.

The company has licensed its Humdinga amphibious truck to Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd (ST Kinetics), in the hopes that it can be put to work during tsunami relief efforts.

The 12-year deal will allow ST Kinetics to produce and sell the Humdinga in Asia, where it is expected to be marketed to first responders as a fast patrol vehicle. Think of it as a smaller, nimbler version of the World War II DUKW.

The Humdinga is 21.5 feet long and is powered by a turbodiesel engine. On land, it has all-wheel drive and disc brakes, and can manage “highway speeds.” For water cruising, the wheels retract into the body/hull, and a jet propulsion system is used, allowing the vehicle to operate in shallow water.

In the water, the Humdinga has a top speed of 30 mph. Gibbs says it is the only amphibious truck that can exceed 9 mph in the water, although the list of other amphibious trucks probably isn’t that long.

The Humdinga can carry up to seven people or up to 1,653 pounds of payload. Since it can do that virtually anywhere, it really does seem like the ideal disaster-response vehicle.

Gibbs holds several patents for its amphibious-vehicle technologies, and hopes to sign more licensing agreements in the near future. So perhaps we’ll see more floating cars (and trucks, and quads) soon.