Officials of the Los Angeles County Fire Department said the remote-controlled rescue robot can be guided through the surf to reach stranded swimmers who can then hold on to the machine until lifeguards arrive.
Mock rescue tests have been conducted in the surf at Zuma Beach in Malibu, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
The prototype robot has been named "Emily" after Emily Rose Shane, 13, who was killed in 2010 after being struck by a car on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Emily was a friend of the robot designer's daughter, officials said.
Additional testing will be conducted before the rescue robot is deployed on local beaches, they said.