In honor of Shark Week this year, Volkswagen and a team of partners created a special shark cage from a 2013 Beetle Convertible. This souped-up version can fly around underwater, giving its expert driver a closer view of sharks swimming in the Caribbean.

Robots Inspired By Water Creatures: Photos

Volkswagen, a Discovery Shark Week presenting sponsor, constructed a Beetle Shark Cage last year in honor of the series’ 25th anniversary. That version (video) had dual thrusters that helped it move along the ocean floor, driven by shark diving expert and marine biologist Luke Tipple. “The entire experience is surreal,” Tipple said at the time. “I’m driving on the bottom of the ocean.”

Volkswagen teamed up with Tipple and Discovery again to give the new underwater Beetle Shark Cage features it didn’t have last time. As Tipple explained to Gizmag, the 2013 vehicle was outfitted with lithium ion-powered scooters attached to custom aluminum propellers. They also added front-mounted dive planes. The new design gives the Shark Cage more power, and the ability to move underwater like a small plane.

Granted, the Shark Cage is more for fun effect than protection. Tipple is so experienced that he’s used to swimming around sharks without any barriers. Plus, sharks are generally wary of such a crazy vehicle. ”Once those motors are going and I’m flying along, I must look like a great, big battleship coming toward them,” Tipple told Gizmag. “They’ll swim away.”

Underwater Robots Tail Sharks

Once he’d learned how to maneuver the new vehicle, Tipple took it for a cruise in the Bahamas. Short video spots showing his encounters with nurse, lemon and reef sharks there will begin airing during Shark Week, which starts Sunday. Get your seat belts ready because this is going to be one shark-tastic road trip.

Photo: The new 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Shark Cage. Credit: Volkswagen