The Fire Department expects the delivery of four EMILY (emergency integrated lifesaving lanyard) robots in May. In an emergency situation, a controlled floating device can swim to the person himself and pull it out of the water until rescue workers appear. The robot is equipped with a camera, and also has a two-way audio channel, which will allow to maintain communication with the victim.
“He moves faster than any swimmer I know,” says Lieutenant John Evans. Indeed, the speed of the EMILY is 40 km / h.
The technology was developed in Arizona by Hydronalix , and this is the first experience of its application in South Carolina.
Myrtle Beach will be sent devices worth $ 5,000, but all expenses are fully covered by the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
At the moment EMILY robots begin their work in some coastal areas of America. In addition, the devices are tested in more dangerous conditions.
In 2016, two robots were sent to the Coast Guard of Greece and the Red Cross to rescue the Syrian refugees who crossed the Mediterranean Sea towards Greece.
EMILY devices proved to be very useful in this situation: they pulled refugees out of the water and put them in a lifeboat with a rope, thus protecting people from dangers in the form of stony elevations. The built-in audio system made it possible to keep in touch with the victims, and with the help of the camera the rescuers could see who was in serious physical condition or had received hypothermia.
Despite the work done in Greece, the American Association of Rescuers does not recommend the use of this technology . Its representative, Chris Brewster, believes that the successful operation of the device is affected by too many factors: on the shore there should be a person who manages the robot, and the drowning person should not get lost at his use.
“The rescuer’s goal is to get a man ashore, so as a lifeguard, I believe that these devices are not very useful,” Brewster said.
However, the vice-president of the manufacturing robot company Karl Commentator believes that EMILY can swim to a sinking person much faster than any rescuer, saving valuable time. He stresses that the device was not created in order to completely replace living rescuers, but to improve their work.
The controversy continues, but the robots will soon start working on the beaches of Myrtle Beach. It is believed that they will be especially useful on those parts of the beach where there are not enough rescuers.