By Loz Blain, New Atlas
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.
(See in Action! U-SAFE remote controlled lifesaving buoy, courtesy of Noras Performance and YouTube)
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!