Everybody knows robots will eventually take all our jobs. They’ve already taken over a lot of work in factories, they’re set to phase out truck drivers, and, soon, even lifeguards might find their gig passed over to the drones. And while some may actually be disappointed to find their rescuers looking nothing like the Baywatch lifeguards from back in the day, the EMILY (short for EMergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard) might actually prove more efficient at rescuing people in the water.
Made by maritime robotics company Hydronalix, it’s a remote-controlled buoy that can cruise through strong currents and heavy surf at speeds of up to 22 mph. That allows it to go a heck of a lot faster than any human lifeguard ever could, ensuring they’ll have a better shot of making it to a drowning swimmer in timely fashion.
EMILY is a four-foot long buoy that looks like a floating heavy bag. Powered by a jet pump with an inlet grate, it comes with no rudders or propellers that can harm the victims it’s looking to save, with enough grab handles to support up to eight people at a time. It can only run up to 800 yards at a time, so it’s not quite suitable for long-distance swimming rescue missions, although it can be used to pull a rescue recovery line, which can then be used to reel rescued swimmers either to a boat or back to shore.
Sporting a Kevlar-reinforced composite hull, it’s durable enough to handle anything the seas can throw its way, so it can be safely maneuvered around wrecks and debris. Each one comes equipped with two-way radios, a video camera that streams to an accompanying app, and onboard lighting for night rescues.