A Dutch student has revealed a prototype ‘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 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour).
Painted in emergency services yellow and driven by six propellers, the drone can carry a four-kilogram load – in this case, a defibrillator.
‘Around 800,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the European Union every year and only 8.0 percent survive,’ Momont, 23, said at the TU Delft University.
‘The main reason for this is the relatively long response time of emergency services of around 10 minutes, while brain death and fatalities occur with four to six minutes,’ he said.
‘The ambulance drone can get a defibrillator to a patient within a 12 square kilometre (4.6 square miles) zone within a minute, reducing the chance of survival from 8 percent to 80 percent.’
The drone tracks emergency mobile calls and uses the GPS to navigate.
Once at the scene, an operator, like a paramedic, can watch, talk and instruct those helping the victim by using an onboard camera connected to a control room via a livestream webcam.
The prototype has already attracted the interest of emergency services including that of Amsterdam, the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad said.