Ambulance drones could bring defibrillators in minutes

The drone can speed defibrillators to patients at 100kph, potentially saving lives

A prototype ambulance drone developed at Delft University of Technology can bring a defibrillator to help cardiac arrest patients, as shown in this dramatisation.

A prototype ambulance drone developed at Delft University of Technology can bring a defibrillator to help cardiac arrest patients, as shown in this dramatisation.

Someone has collapsed on the ground from cardiac arrest and there's no defibrillator around. What to do? Summon an ambulance drone.

A graduate student at Delft University of Technology in Netherlands has created a prototype drone that can autonomously navigate to a location in minutes and deliver a defibrillator, a device that can help reestablish normal heart rhythm.

Product engineering student Alec Momont of the university's Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering created the drone, which has three rotors and an on-board defibrillator.

The drone would basically be like a mobile version of an automated external defibrillator (AED), which are lightweight, portable, battery-operated devices often found in shopping malls, transport stations and convention centers.

The prototype also has a webcam so that people on the scene of a cardiac arrest can communicate with emergency personnel and follow instructions about how to care for the patient.

The 4kg drone has a carbon-fiber frame and 3D-printed micro-structures. It can navigate via GPS and finds its way to a location using a caller's mobile phone signal. It can fly about 100 kilometers per hour and is able to carry another 4kg worth of payload.

The main merit of the prototype is that by flying over roads, it could get life-saving equipment to a patient before emergency services arrive when every minute counts, according to the university.

"The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient inside a 12 square km zone within one minute," Momont said in a release. "This response speed increases the chance of survival following a cardiac arrest from 8 percent to 80 percent."

A YouTube video shows a dramatisation of how the drone would be used, with a woman picking it up at the entrance to a building where her father has collapsed.

The drones would cost 15,000 euros (US$19,074) each and could help treat some of the roughly 800,000 people who suffer cardiac arrest in the EU every year, according to Momont.

One obstacle to implementation is that Dutch law currently forbids autonomous drones. Another is that the device's ability to avoid obstacles in its path must be improved.

Still, Momont believes the machines could be helping people within five years and is working with partners including Ghent University Hospital and the Amsterdam Ambulance Service.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags roboticsDelft University of Technology

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?