July 3 - Lifeguards in California are integrating a new robotic assistant called ''Emily'' into their arsenal of life-saving equipment. Emily is a remote-controlled vessel designed to help swimmers in distress until human help arrives and at one beach in Malibu, she's already making waves. Sharon Reich has more.
She's no Baywatch babe, but she's the hottest "bot" on Zuma Beach… And lifeguard Joe Everett is relying on EMILY, to patrol the waters this summer and help save lives. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOE EVERETT, OCEAN LIFEGUARD LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT, SAYING: "The best way to describe Emily would be to take the technology of a PWC, or commonly known as a jet-ski, with a jet engine, a battery operated jet engine. Then it would be very similar to a kid operating a boat from the beach or a remote controlled airplane from a bluff. Very similar to that." Her name is short for Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard. Lightweight and powerful the remote controlled rescue vessel is capable of cutting through choppy waves at up to 30 miles per hour and can carry 5-7 people at once. Still, "Emily" isn't perfect. She requires a lifeguard to control her remotely from the beach and isn't able to rescue unconscious swimmers. But Everett says that when it comes to preventing drownings from rip tides, EMILY's help will be invaluable. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOE EVERETT, OCEAN LIFEGUARD LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT, SAYING: "Zuma Beach has a great reputation of having larger surf, huge crowds and with that we have large riptides. With that we are going to have huge opportunities to use Emily and effect some successful rescues and we are looking at saving some lives this summer." So while Emily may not be the most attractive girl on the beach, if you're in trouble ... she's the one you want to see. Sharon Reich, Reuters