Cardiac Arrest? Call in Life-Saving Drones

Startup readies drone that gets AEDs on scene before the ambulance arrives.

Every day, another story about the potential role of drones—some pretty noteworthy, others simply far fetched, IMHO. Well, here’s one I could wrap my head around: Using automated drones to deliver life-saving equipment faster and in hard to reach places.

A Swedish startup called Flypulse has developed an autonomous drone that can bring life-saving equipment to the scene of a medical emergency, stat. According to an article on Futurism, the Flypulse drone delivered Automated External Defibrillators (AED) four times faster than it took for an ambulance to get on scene.

AEDs are a particularly good use case for such a drone. The article quotes American Heart Association figures indicating that more than 350,000 people suffer from cardiac arrest outside the four walls of a hospital and only 12% survive through hospital discharge. Public access to defibrillation is critical, but the technology is expensive and not readily available to people when they need it, the article said.

Flypulse is pitching its LifeDrone-AED as a way to get the needed AED technology on the scene, possibility even before first responders arrive via ambulance. Testing by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found the drone’s average flight time to be 5 minutes and 25 seconds compared to the 22 minutes, on average, it took to dispatch an ambulance to the same locations, the article reported.

Flypulse has other health-related drones in development. It’s working on the LifeDrone-Water to assist with drowning victims, and the LifeDrone-Fire, to help out in fire events.

I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more medical-related drone use cases—a trend I welcome.