As a naturally morbid human being, I’ve always dreamed of being rescued by someone curvy and female should I find myself drowning in the middle of the ocean. And if my would-be rescuer is attempting to reach me while running in slow motion, long hair flowing in the warn afternoon breeze, well, that would be okay, too. It’s a shame that 90% of my daydreams have been inspired by the sort of crap the USA Network used to air back in the 90’s.
Of course, saving drowning swimmers is no laughing matter, which is why Los Angeles area engineers are testing out the latest weapon in the war against watery lungs: robotic lifeguards. Instead of one human risking his or her life to save another, lifeguards will soon be able to deploy a remote controlled robot that will makes its way to anyone in need of assistance. Since the mechanized life saver doubles as a floatation device, the individual in peril can latch onto the robot while waiting for its flesh and blood counterparts to arrive.
The device currently being tested in Los Angeles is called Emily, which is named after 13 year-old Emily Rose Shane, a friend of one of developer Tony Mulligan. Shane was reportedly killed in 2012 after being struck by a speeding car on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.
According to the manufacturer’s website, the motorized buoy can travel at roughly 40 miles per hour for nearly 35 minutes. Additionally, Emily can patrol a five mile area for roughly 500 minutes before returning to shore for a battery recharge. Although the device only weights 25 pounds, it can support up to six people at one time.
“We may be able to use it like if we have a large group of people caught in a rip tide,” explained LA County Fire Department Lifeguard Capt. Remy Tobias. “We can send Emily out to stabilize and have the lifeguards come in and bring them to shore.”
Lifeguards have been performing mock rescues on Zuma Beach, though more testing will need to be performed before Emily will start saving lives in the real world.