If you haven't needed the services of the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, or EMILY, count yourself lucky. EMILY is called into action by lifeguards and emergency response teams around the world for water rescues. With support from the National Science Foundation, roboticist Robin Murphy of Texas A&M University and her colleagues are developing some upgrades to make EMILY and other rescue robots "smarter" for large-scale water rescues, such as a capsized ferry or water taxi. Among other things, they're working with tethered drones to create an "eye in the sky" combined with onboard thermal sensing to autonomously navigate EMILY to a cluster of people. Because the drone is tethered, no one must "staff" it during rescue operations and it remains clear of any participating aircraft. Murphy and her team identified some of the technology challenges during field research in the Mediterranean, where the Greek coast guard used EMILY to rescue hundreds of refugees from the water. Since then, they've tested some of their upgrades for EMILY with both the Italian and U.S. coast guards. The drone seen in this video was flown as part of a field demonstration approved by the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Provided by National Science Foundation