The Concept

The Otari is a small submarine drone designed as a lifeguard assistant that will help retrieve babies, children, adults, and even pets at risk of drowning in a pool. It’s the size of a lifebuoy and is equipped with water turbines and airbags that can activate to raise the person out of the water.

The Background

When it comes to pools, safety is a priority, but there is still an average of over 3,500 pool drownings recorded every year in the United States (ten a day). In fact, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States.

Pool alarms already exist, but someone has to be nearby to assist the person (or animal) in distress. The Otari would be able to rescue people only a few seconds after they fall in the water. Knowing that people have a 95% chance of surviving if they are saved within the first minute of drowning, the response time of the Otari could probably help save lives.

How It Works

The Otari would be powered by a battery, recharged by wireless electricity or by the sun, and moved around by small water jet turbines. Monitoring and navigation could be made with sonar, sensors, and cameras, and the unit could be managed from a smartphone or tablet. It would also be equipped with LED lights to be easily spotted when it’s dark outside.

The Otari would be positioned at the bottom of the pool where it would monitor activity from below. It would have different ways to be deployed, either by autonomous monitoring if a human or an animal falls in the pool when no one is watching, or with a smartphone app.

Its key feature would be its side airbags. During an emergency, the Otari would simultaneously send an alert to the owner’s phone and jump into action, positioning itself under the person and activating two airbags (or more as needed) to raise the distressed person to the surface rapidly and safely. The LED light would strobe to attract people nearby and the device would also sound an alarm on the device or the use’s tablet or smartphone.

What It’s Used For

The Otari could be purchased by pool owners who have small children or who live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of kids. It would be designed to prevent children (and even adults) from drowning if they fall in, which unfortunately still happens too often. Lifeguards could also use them in larger resort pools and quickly direct the Otari to any section of the pool. There are millions of pools around the world, so there is a market for such a device, and the technology to build it already exists.


The Otari concept was imagined in January 2016 by Charles Bombardier and designed by Ray Mattison from Design Eye-Q. Ray is based near Duluth, Minnesota, USA. He studied at the College for Creative Studies, and he has worked for Cirrus Aircraft and Exodus Machines. Ray also created the images of the Argentic search and rescue aircraft and the Skreemr supersonic aircraft.