Ambulance drone development for AED delivery continues

Creation of a lifesaving drone continues for interaction designer Alec Momont, creator of viral AED drone video

ORLANDO, Fla. — Developing a drone to deliver an AED and other first aid supplies is progressing from a university student's idea to a business. Interaction designer Alec Momont presented his work on designing a drone for lifesaving and emergency response at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015.

Momont created the "Ambulance Drone" concept for his 2014 master's thesis. The video became a global phenomenon for its portrayal of an ambulance drone delivering an AED to a cardiac arrest patient. In the video, a bystander receives an AED, delivered by drone, after calling for help.

At the Resuscitation Science Symposium plenary session on digital media, Momont discussed the challenges he has had developing the drone since the video was published.

Memorable quotes on the ambulance drone

"A drone becomes a tool to deliver health care. When you design for life a drone becomes a tool for remote areas, disaster response and an information network."

"We are working on an uber-like system to alert emergency workers to a nearby cardiac arrest."

"The technology needs to get past this peak of inflated expectations to actual performance in everyday life."

Key takeaways on the ambulance drone

Here are key takeaways on the ongoing development of Momont's ambulance drone.

1. Obstacles between design and implementation

A drone, even when designed to save lives, faces a lot of obstacles. The road is long from concept to prototypes for testing to actual widespread deployment.

2. Adoption of new technology

For any new patient care technology to be adopted, it must be reliable and as or more effective than the device or process it is intended to replace. Currently AEDs are often delivered by emergency responders and increasingly are easily available in public buildings, schools and businesses.

3. Keep improving other lifesaving methods

Momont predicts his ambulance drone is five years or more away. EMS providers need to continue pursuing opportunities to improve existing prehospital care techniques and response methods. In addition, new innovations should be considered, tested and adopted. 

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