More than 500 refugees fleeing Syria have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to cross from Turkey to Greece. And now, members from the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station's (TEES) Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) and Roboticists Without Borders are working together to try and prevent additional incidents.

According to an article on, efforts are in motion to use the lifesaving robot known as EMILY to assist refugees.

Designed to speed out to those who require immediate relief, EMILY gives the Coast Guard crucial time needed to save others in need. EMILY can be thought of as a combination of a large life preserver with a battery powered miniature jet ski that a lifeguard can control remotely, according to the source.

Meanwhile improvements are underway to take EMILY to the next level. Dr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University is working with students to improve the lifesaving device, which can carry up to eight people at once.

A number of undergraduate seniors are working on projects that would assist with humanitarian efforts. Another five graduate students are working on an autonomous version of EMILY in Murphy's graduate level robotics class, reports. Another group is working on an app called "Draw Me a Picture," which will help for EMILY to display an animated GIF illustrating what the responders want the to do, such as tie a rope to their boat so it can be pulled away from the rocks.

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