A New Use for Drones in Healthcare

Upon his graduation from Delft University of Technology in Netherlands, Alec Momont decided to come up with a new use for drones which would counter the negative publicity these aerial vehicles have been receiving. The student’s parents have recently lost a neighbor due to cardiac arrest and the ambulance’s not being able to arrive in time. But what if drones could carry medical supplies? That was Momont’s thought when he reached out to Living Tomorrow with an idea of creating an “ambulance drone.” Although this project is yet to be tested on humans and could be to expensive to implement, it serves as a reminder that drones have a good potential. The US is missing out on this opportunity because the FAA has been slow in providing regulations of appropriate drone use.

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.”

Momont’s drone is able to travel at a speed of 62 mph, however its battery only lasts for about 10 minutes. He states that 3,000 drones could be stationed on telephone poles in various areas of the Netherlands with each drone responding to emergencies within a 12 kilometer area within a minute. The nearest drone can be requested following a call to 911 and flown to the site (autonomously or controlled by a person). Once the drone arrives at the scene, it delivers medical supplies and has an installed camera which allows people to interact with an emergency technician for medical advice. The drone also includes a defibrillator that is able to give up to 50 shocks.

Ambulances in Netherlands tend to arrive in approximately 10 minutes, so Momont’s army of drones can serve as a significantly useful tool for preventing loss of life. Alec Momont is now trying to find more funding to develop his idea, with each drone costing about $19,000.

Let’s use drones for a good purpose, let’s use drones to save lives,” Momont states in his video.

Read more here – “A Student’s Ambitious Plan to Canvas the Netherlands with ‘Ambulance Drones’,” (Matt McFarland, Washington Post).

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Anna is a current student at The George Washington University in Washington, DC with a concentration in Marketing and Communication. She specializes in social media outreach and has experience working in government contracting.

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