A View from Kristina Grifantini

Robo Lifeguard Patrols Malibu

A mechanized buoy is faster than human lifeguards in some situations.

  • June 29, 2010

A robotic lifeguard could someday patrol a beach near you. The 4-foot, sensor-equipped motorized buoy from Hydronalix, dubbed Emily (for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard), is already on patrol on Zuma Beach in Malibu. Currently, a user remotely controls Emily from shore, directing it to people in danger and issue instructions through onboard cameras and speakers. The company announced it will be debuting an autonomous version of the device which won’t need to be remote controlled, but rather will roam around on its own, using sonar to detect the motion of swimmers in distress.

Emily can reach a maximum of 40 miles per hour for up to 35 minutes, according to the company’s website. The new version will be about $3,500 and available in April.

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