Off the coast of Greece, where there are still ongoing tragedies happening as refugees flee war-torn North Africa, a robot bouy named EMILY might hold the key to saving countless lives.
EMILY, which stands for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, is a ‘4-ft long remote controlled buoy which can cruise through rip-currents and swift water at speeds up to 22 mph to reach distressed swimmers faster than human lifeguards.’ Originally conceived as a commercial venture, it is now being used as an aide to assist refugees in crisis as they get stuck in the dangerous Mediterranean waters.
Designed to race through heavy surf, EMILY has proper balance for quick self-righting performance. The deep, 22 degree hull is designed to track straight during wave breaching. Highly durable, EMILY will survive impact at full speed or in surf with rocks, reef, or pilings. Use EMILY to provide flotation until a rescuer arrives, deliver life jackets, or pull a recovery rescue line up to 800 yards through strong currents and large surf.
NPR recently ran a story about EMILY training, which was taking place on the Greek coastline. Up to 8 people can hang on to EMILY, which could have huge implications when refugee boats, which are often overloaded and unequipped with safety gear, run into trouble.
You can listen to the full story from NPR here: