Ambulance Drone Delivers First Aid Supplies on Demand

High-speed emergency delivery of first aid supplies can save lives with this latest drone

Nearly 400,000 heart attacks happen every year in the United States alone, and 88 percent of them happen at home — far from the lifesaving Automated Electronic Defibrillator (AED) devices common in many public spaces. In a heart attack, aid must be given in the first first five minutes or chances of survival drop to just 8 percent. That timing becomes a serious problem when combined with the fact that the average ambulance response time in the US is typically 10 to 12 minutes.

Engineer Alex Monton’s new Ambulance Drone could change those numbers. Running in the wake of the Defikopter, which drone-delivers defibrillators ahead of ambulances in Germany, the Ambulance Drone flies in full kit of medical supplies in response to an EMS call.

Because they fly above traffic and can be stationed in a more widespread pattern, Ambulance drones can be on the scene in one minute to anywhere in a 12 square kilometer area. They arrive bearing a compact defibrilator, emergency medications, wound dressings, a space blanket and other equipment that can make the difference between life and death if used between the drone’s arrival and the ambulance that’s still three red lights away. The drone is equipped with two-way speakers and microphone so the people on the scene can communicate with and receive instructions from a knowledgeable operator once the drone arrives.

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Monton’s project turns the tables on the reputation of drones as weapons of war only, and according to his research could put survival rates for an at-home heart attack near 80 percent. That’s a difference of over 300,000 saved lives per year. Monton is currently seeking funding in Europe to further develop and prototype the model.