New robotic buoys are being tested along the coasts of Oregon and Rhode Island—tested? what does that mean?—reports Digital Trends. The robots look like boat-shaped life vests, and they apparently can travel at 25 m.p.h. to reach struggling swimmers 12 times faster than your typical sunscreen-swathed lifeguard. The lifeguard is supposed to swim after the buoy, which the would-be drowner can cling to as he or she scans the horizon for sharks. In some models, the buoy drags along a rope that the lifeguard can use to pull the swimmer to shore—at least until they invent a robot to do that too.
The device, called the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard or EMILY (yes boys, she has a Facebook page) is “similar to a jet-ski in design.” Also, “The company has also added a safety screen over the intake valve in order to avoid accidentally sucking hair into the device during operation.” Oh. Good.