Student invents ambulance drone for speedy medical assistance

This engineering graduate is using drone tech as a force for good.

Compact flying drones have garnered something of a bad reputation as tools for social pranks or for actual warfare, but one tech student in the Netherlands has built a drone that can save lives.

Alec Momont is an engineering graduate of Delft University of Technology. As part of his Master’s degree project, Momont developed a prototype drone that can bring an automatic external defibrillator to the victim of a heart attack remotely.

The Dutch student designed an ambulance drone that has a defibrillator, a camera, speakers, a microphone and GPS capability as part of its configuration. 3D-printing was used to speedily generate the intricate structures of early drone iterations and the current device is made of lightweight carbon-fibre.

Momont’s drone can be driven by a paramedic in response to a call of emergency. Assisted by GPS, the paramedic on duty can fly the drone directly to the scene at over 100 kilometres per hour - bypassing the obstacles of road travel completely. The operator can then, using the camera and speakers, communicate instructions to any bystander at the scene. The ambulance drone’s defibrillator activates itself once it has been placed on the victim’s chest.

Momont continues to develop the ambulance drone (as there are legal implications and fine-tuning still to be ironed out) so that it can be mass-distributable in a few years. The Dutch engineer also wants to expand the drone's emergency care application to be able to deliver oxygen masks to people who are trapped in a burning building. View the video below for more information.