UNMANNED, REMOTE-CONTROLLED CRAFT IS LOCAL
NW Fire gets EMILY for fast-water rescues
June 8, 2012
7 HOURS AGO • DAVID WICHNER ARIZONA DAILY STAR
The next time someone is trapped in a rain-swollen wash on the northwest side, EMILY might come roaring to the rescue.
EMILY – which stands for EMergency Integrated Lifesaving LanYard – is an unmanned, remote-controlled watercraft developed by Sahuarita-based Hydronalix Inc. as a way to help first responders like lifeguards and water-rescue teams reach people in distress.
On Thursday, Hydronalix presented an EMILY unit to the Northwest Fire District for swift-water rescues.
The craft was one of seven units funded by a $60,000 federal grant through the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
The other EMILYs delivered under the grant include one delivered earlier to the Green Valley Fire District, two each with lifeguard departments in Los Angeles and San Diego, and one at Depoe Bay, Ore.
The 4 1/2-foot-long EMILY, which has been tested extensively in heavy ocean surf off the California coast as well as in swift inland waters, can be quickly deployed and reach speeds of up to 24 mph under radio control by a remote operator.
The idea here is that swift-water rescue crews can launch EMILY into a running wash and use it to reach victims with a rescue line, Hydronalix Vice President Rori Marston said as the EMILY unit was delivered at Northwest Fire’s Station No. 38.
And that could not only help save victims’ lives – it also could avoid the need to put emergency responders at risk in raging waters.
“The most hazardous part of a swift-water rescue is when we have to put people in the water,” said Capt. Adam Goldberg of Northwest Fire. “It’s going to be a phenomenal tool to keep people out of the water.”
But Northwest Fire and Hydronalix officials stressed that EMILY is not intended to replace human responders but rather give rescuers a new tool.
“I see this system being utilized on every swift-water (rescue) event, if nothing else as a backup for rescue swimmers,” said Northwest Fire Capt. Paul Mischel, a rescue team leader. He noted that EMILY could be launched immediately on arrival, while swimmers don wet suits and long before the crew’s 14-foot inflatable boat could be ready to hit the water.
Northwest’s swift-water rescue units are based at the district’s station No. 33 at 2821 W. Ina Road and at station No. 34 at 8165 N. Wade Road in Marana. The district also handles swift-water rescues for the Avra Valley and Picture Rocks fire districts, Mischel said.
Marston said the recent rollout of the EMILY units has generated renewed interest in the system, which was selected as one of the 50 best inventions of 2010 by Time magazine and named as a grand award winning invention by Popular Science magazine.
The EMILY units, which are individually priced at $9,950 each, are hand-assembled at Hydronalix’s headquarters in Sahuarita, Marston said. Companywide, the company employs 14 people, not including subcontractors, he said.
Other Hydronalix unmanned watercraft can be fitted with cameras or sensors, and software to allow autonomous operation for surveying, surveillance and other work.
Hydronalix has developed a larger version of EMILY for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The EMILY Hurricane Tracker unmanned surface vessel (or USV) is a finalist for Aviation Week magazine’s 2012 Innovation Challenge. The company also is demonstrating systems for the U.S. Navy.
In April, Hydronalix announced that the company has teamed up with Textron Defense Systems to develop small naval surface systems for port security, coastal water operations, mine countermeasures and other military and homeland-security missions.
Did you know?
Hydronalix Inc. was founded in 2009 by its president and CEO, University of Arizona engineering alumnus Tony Mulligan. Mulligan sold another company he co-founded in Tucson, advanced materials and unmanned aircraft maker Advanced Ceramics Research Inc., to defense giant BAE Systems in 2008.
The acronym EMILY was created in memory of Emily Rose Shane, a friend of Mulligan’s daughter who died at age 13 after being struck by a car in Malibu.
Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4181.
Original Article Link:
EMILY on Diane Sawyer ABC World News
NOAA Webpage on EMILY Hurricane Tracker Press Release
Popular Science Selection as Grand Award Invention of the Year for Security Category
Time Magazine Rating EMILY as top 50 inventions of 2010 (ranked at number 7)
NBC Los Angeles News Segment on EMILY
NBC Connecticut News Segment on EMILY systems going to Westerly Rhode Island
KTLA Los Angeles News Segment on EMILY by Sarah Welch
Tucson KVOA News Segment on EMILY for Monsoon Flood Rescue operations by Swift Water Team
CNN segment on EMILY
San Diego Tribune Story on EMILY
EMILY press in UK
Tucson News Paper the AZStar story on EMILY and local collaboration with University of Arizona
Arizona Daily Star Article on EMILY for Swift Water Rescue in Monsoon Flash Flood Season
Los Angeles Time segment on EMILY with link to TV News Segment Video
Local Malibu Story on EMILY
Los Angeles County Fire Department Press Release on EMILY Program
WEBPRO News Story on EMILY
Textron Teaming With Hydronalix for Small USV platform development