A university graduate from The Netherlands is hoping his ambulance drone will be able to save the lives of cardiac arrest sufferers, who need to be treated within minutes of an attack. The drone carries a defibrillator and can reach a patient up to ten times faster than a traditional ambulance. Suzannah Butcher reports
When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, they need to be treated within minutes. But with ambulances at the mercy of traffic, they often arrive too late with their life-saving equipment. This might be the answer. The ambulance drone can travel up to ten times the speed of a traditional ambulance. Guided by the mobile phone of a person assisting the patient, it has its own defibrillator. And a medic can give instructions on how to use it, through a loudspeaker and camera. Inventor Alec Momont says the key to the drone's success is its speed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INVENTOR OF AMBULANCE DRONE, GRADUATE STUDENT, ALEC MOMONT, SAYING: "Drones are always limited in their battery life, but since we are flying so fast and come to the location at that high speed and it lands, we actually only use five percent of the battery. So, that's also why we are able to draw so much power from the battery so that it is able to fly this fast." This might just be a prototype, but with testing underway, Momont hopes it won't be too long before the drone is commercially produced. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INVENTOR OF AMBULANCE DRONE, GRADUATE STUDENT, ALEC MOMONT, SAYING: "We can expect to see this within five years from now, to be as reliable that we can use it in our everyday society." Momont says drones often have a negative reputation, but he wanted to show they could be a force for good, potentially saving lives.