The sky’s the limit for future paramedics: an Austin, Texas technology company has unveiled plans for a ‘drone ambulance’. Argodesign’s concept of a one-person ambulance drone that’s modeled after a standard quadcopter – operated by a GPS or pilot – aims to offer emergency response in hard-to-reach places.

 

What inspired the ‘Drone Ambulance’?

 

Our company spends a lot of time exploring how to apply new technology to existing problems, and lately we have been involved in a lot of conversations with companies about drones. Most of them are focused on creating small consumer drones but we started asking ourselves what other problems could be solved with this new technology. And drones in flight could travel more directly and quickly to the sites of road accidents, disaster zones and emergency care facilities. All in all, it’s a great place to demonstrate the value of drone technology.

 

How would the vehicle operate?

 

When an emergency occurs – for example, a grandfather in his rural home suddenly experiences chest pains – the drone will be dispatched with an emergency medical technician aboard. The drone does not need a pilot on location, so it can depart immediately. It can fly above traffic, or over rural territory, avoiding obstacles on the ground to arrive.

 

Your idea is at the conceptual stage, but when do you think we’ll see this vehicle fly in our skies?

We spoke with an aeronautical engineer about this, and he concurs that the concept is feasible. However, we have not done any detailed analysis. It is still only a concept after we explored possible new uses for drone technology.

How much would it cost?

We certainly have not looked into the potential cost, but ideally, it would not cost much more than an expensive car, given the composite material construction, electric motors, batteries, and low production volume of the vehicle.