Self-propelled lifesaving buoy zips out and retrieves drowning swimmersView gallery - 5 images
Here's a nifty lifesaving idea from Noras Performance out of Portugal. U-Safe is a lifesaving buoy that can drive itself around in the water by remote control, meaning it can reach a victim quickly, and transport them to safety if need be.
The U-shaped U-safe is a battery powered device you can use in place of any lifesaving "donut." When it's thrown in the water, it propels itself using a pair of electric turbines that take in water and fire it out the back.
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A remote control thumbstick gives an operator the ability to drive it as a small watercraft - and it's quite nippy as it makes its way across the water. It looks like about the quickest way we can imagine to get a piece of lifesaving gear out to a distressed person in the water, particularly in difficult surf.
Once a victim has been reached, the U-safe has enough power to help drag them back toward safety - which could make it very handy on large ships that might have to launch a rescue boat otherwise.
Patent filings describe possible future iterations that might charge themselves through solar power, or that might automatically self-deploy and self-drive to the location of a crew member who's gone overboard with a special GPS locating device on their person.
Other ideas include a larger version with a seat that could be used for recreational purposes as well, and another that can also be used for surveillance purposes.
According to the Noras website, U-safe is "coming soon" and has been for over a year, so we'll keep an eye out for updates!
Source: Noras PerformanceView gallery - 5 images