Graduate student Alec Momont from TU Delft in the Netherlands has designed an Ambulance drone to deliver emergency medical equipment and support ten times faster than an ambulance. It’s capable of traveling up to 60 miles per hour straight to the location of a heart attack victim or other medical emergency. It has an on-board camera and allows an operator to talk to the victim and provide instructions to whoever is there to help. The speed of this “remote paramedic” could mean the difference between life and death.
Some 800,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the EU every year, and only 8% survive,’ Momont explains. ‘The main reason for this is the relatively long response time of the emergency services (approx. 10 minutes), while brain death and fatalities occur within 4 to 6 minutes. The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient inside a 12 km2 zone within one minute. This response speed increases the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest from 8% to 80%.
The first prototype has been designed to transport a defibrillator as seen below, and can carry up to 9 pounds of supplies to become a compact flying ‘medical toolbox’. See TU Delft for more information on the Ambulance Drone project.
See a great demonstration of how the Ambulance drone might work:
Note: There are still many challenges to overcome for drones as outlined in this IEEE post. They are still not permitted to fly freely by law, and their object avoidance systems need work. We are making huge strides towards resolving these issues (see the Urban SkyWays project).
Image: TU Delft