EMILY, or the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving LanYard, is a 4.5-foot long robotic
buoy with a foam core, red canvas cover, and an operating speed of up to 24 mph/40
kph—or about 15 times the speed of a human lifeguard.
Designed by Arizona-based Hydronalix Inc.,
EMILY is powered by a miniature propulsion engine much like a Jet Ski and can be
driven remotely with a handheld controller. The newest versions of the robot can
reportedly also be controlled using a tablet or phone running the Google Android
When a lifeguard spots trouble in the water, he or she simply tosses EMILY into
the surf and steers her quickly to the struggling swimmer or swimmers. Indeed, perhaps
EMILY’s greatest strength—other than her speed in both smooth and choppy water—is
her 80 pounds of buoyancy, which is enough to keep 4-5 adults afloat. With the swimmers
holding onto EMILY, lifeguards can then swim out to complete the rescue.