Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are now a common sight at airports and sports venues, but they’re nowhere near to being ubiquitous.
A Dutch student has revealed a prototype first aid ‘ambulance drone’, a flying defibrillator able to reach heart attack victims within precious life-saving minutes. Developed by engineering graduate Alec Momont, it can fly at speeds of up to 60mph.
Flying ambulance AED drone
Painted in emergency services yellow and driven by six propellers, this flying ambulance AED drone can carry a four kilogramme load – in this case a defibrillator. The communication channel for video and audio means those attending at the scene can communicate with emergency operators who can provide instructions, improving the quality of the care.
“In the EU around 800,000 people per year suffer from a cardiac arrest, an upsetting number considering that only eight per cent survives this incident,” Momont said.
One of the most important considerations in emergency medical treatment is response time. This drone can be controlled by a paramedic in response to an emergency call. Using GPS the operator flies the drone to the scene at 60mph. At the scene the operator, using the drone’s cameras and speakers, gives personalized instructions to people near the victim. The defibrillator itself operates automatically once it is placed on the victim’s chest.
The drones will cost around £11,800 per unit, which seems steep until you consider that just one could save many lives. Momont has already had interest from the medical sector and is now looking for funding to continue the development of his project.
Find out more about the Flying ambulance AED drone and Alec’s projects here