Robot Lifeguard 'Emily' Patrols the Beach

                                                                                           (Image Credit: ABC News)

Lifeguards in California are testing a robotic lifeguard named Emily that could speed up rescues and save lives.

Once a lifeguard launches Emily in the water, the robot, which resembles a small motorboat, can speed across the water to a distressed but conscious swimmer to provide comfort until a human responder can arrive.

The critical moments Emily cuts off the time it takes to complete a rescue could save lives, said Capt. Remy Smith of the Los Angeles Fire Department Lifeguard Division.

"It's a very good tool for if someone is still like viable, they're not unconscious, you can use Emily to go out and get someone," Smith told ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate.

The high-tech tool was named for Emily Rose Shane, a 13-year-old girl who was struck by a car in 2010. Shane was close friends with developer Tony Mulligan's daughter, he said.

"We knew Emily as a person that just always wanted to help people. She always put other people in front of herself and that's really what this robot is about," Mulligan said.