A FUTURISTIC rescue robot promises to save lives without risking those of emergency service crews.

The Dolphin 1 Smart Lifebuoy is a “revolutionary” unmanned craft that can speed out to sea to save struggling swimmers.

The lifebuoy was trialled in Brighton last week and embarked on a mission to bring an employee of the company back to shore.

The test seems to have been successful, with the Dolphin 1 racing out to the stranded swimmer before cruising back to shore with the woman clinging to handles on the ray-shaped machine.

The lifebuoy was created by Ocean Alpha, a company which says it is the “leading unmanned surface vehicle supplier”.

It is controlled by a “simplified remote controller” and the company says research has shown that “users have reported no difficulty when using it for the first time”.

It has two propellers which can power it to a top speed of ten knots, the equivalent of 11.5mph, and it also has 1.5 times the buoyancy of an average buoy, allowing it to carry two people at a time.

It has a “floatability” of 150kg, despite weighing just 13kg.

A company spokesman said: “This is a revolutionary remote-controlled life-saving device to keep you safe on the water.

“The Dolphin 1 is bright orange and mounted with two high penetration flashing fog lights, making the buoy highly visible over long distances and in bad weather.

“The propeller is wrapped by a metal shell to protect the user from injury and keep the propellers from entangling with water plants.

“The battery is stored in an independent cabin so that the Dolphin 1 can keep functioning, even if the hull is damaged.”

The machine can be operated with the remote control from up to 500 metres away and can run for 30 minutes.