EMILY, the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, is a four-foot-long remote-controlled rescue buoy that can zip across choppy waves, to rescue drowning people.
Ocean riptides drown an estimated 100 people every year in the U.S. They can sweep a swimmer out to sea at up to eight feet per second, outpacing even the strongest lifeguard.
EMILY can travel at up to 26 mph, reaching a drowning victim 10 times as fast as any swimmer.
Lifeguards remotely steer the craft to its target and use an onboard camera and speaker to communicate with victims.
Manufacturer Hydronalix has successfully tested EMILY at more than 20 beaches nationwide and next year plans to introduce a version that can navigate on its own using sonar. $3,500.