Ambulance drone unveiled in Netherlands

The drone flies at speeds of 60 mph and carries a defibrillator

By Michelle Starr

NETHERLANDS — One of the most important considerations in emergency medical treatment is response time. Now, an engineering graduate at Delft University of Technology has created a rapid response drone to do what a regular ambulance can't. The drone, created by Alec Momont, is able to fly at speeds of up to 100 kph (60 mph), carrying a defibrillator and equipped with features that could reduce the time before a heart attack victim receives first aid, greatly increasing the chances of recovery.

"It is essential that the right medical care is provided within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest," Momont said. 'If we can get to an emergency scene faster, we can save many lives and facilitate the recovery of many patients. This especially applies to emergencies such as heart failure, drownings, traumas and respiratory problems, and it has become possible because life-saving technologies, such as a defibrillator, can now be designed small enough to be transported by a drone."

The prototype drone is designed to be deployed when emergency services receive a cardiac arrest call. Unconstrained by traffic and roads, the drone, in theory, could arrive at the scene faster than an ambulance. Because it cannot, however, carry EMTs, it is equipped with the next best thing: livestream audio and video connection that will allow medical professionals to deliver instructions to people at the site, viewing the situation through the webcam and talking the responder through the treatment -- including how to use the defibrillator.

Read full story: Ambulance drone delivers help to heart attack victims

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