This Ambulance Drone Is Totally Fascinating
“Patients’ lives are being put at risk because of “ambulance traffic jams” at Greater manchester hospitals,” a union has warned after North West Ambulance Service in the UK called for a review after two elderly women had to be treated by doctors outside the Royal Oldham Hospital.
In fact, this problem does not just happen in England, but it’s also a headachable situation of the U.S., India, and many other countries. In emergencies, seconds count. Unfortunately, an estimated 1,000 “treatable” lives are lost every year because of slow emergency response in every big city. What could help make emergency response more efficient and immunize with traffic?
Design firm Argodesign has an answer.
The company conceptualized a one-person ambulance drone modeled after a standard quadcopter, which is driven by a GPS, pilot, or combination of both that could be dispatched to an emergency scene with a single EMT. It’s designed to be able to land almost anywhere thanks to a footprint the size of a compact car. The EMT stabilizes the patient, loads him up, and flies back with him to the hospital for further treatment.
The idea came from a team brainstorming session around how healthcare could become more accessible. The designers first thought about how they could build a better ambulance, and the rise of self-driving vehicles inspired them to consider a driverless ambulance. Then they thought of helicopters and drones, and the rest developed from here. “Obviously, it’s not a thoroughly vetted concept, but I think it’s extremely intriguing where drones might show up. It would be nice to see them used this way, rather than another military function or more photography,” said Mark Rolston, Founder of Argodesign.
What a wild innovation! Rolston believes an ultralight drone could be constructed in the million dollar range. That’s several times more expensive than a wheeled ambulance, but it’s still cheaper than a medical helicopter. “It’s faster, cheaper, and better. Many more of these would cost less to service,” bolted Rolston.
It seems drones are becoming increasingly popular and very useful. From making farming easier, capturing the beauties life has to offer, putting out wildfires, to preventing endangered species, delivering things, Internet broadcasting, and now ambulancing. According to 3D Robotics CEO Chris Anderson, the DIY drone community will soon have more than 15,000 drones flying, compared to some 7,000 drones in use worldwide by military forces.
Currently, Argodesign is still working on the design as well as technical aspect of its world’s first ambulance drones. “We may have underestimated the wingspan challenge for lift, but in a greater scheme of things, that’s a trivial part of the idea,” said Rolston.