Someday Soon A Drone Might Save Your Life

Medical technology could make drones the new first responders in a crisis

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Someday in the not too distant future, a drone might be the deciding factor between your life and your death. If you're in a car accident, for instance, a drone could get to you before an emergency vehicle. That drone could be equipped with supplies so bystanders could perform lifesaving tasks. It could radio out to a doctor, who would issue instructions as the emergency vehicles arrived. It could find you, save you.

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These scenarios aren't just idealistic thinking. Drone technology is being developed and studied at universities around the world. A recent Swedish study found that drones outfitted with automated external defibrillators arrived 16 minutes faster than EMS on average. (The defibrillators, which can be operated by a bystander, restore regular heart rhythm to someone in cardiac arrest.)

Drones are also capable of beating first responders to disaster or mass casualty sites, and then delivering medical kits and survival supplies to those effected. It's like Amazon's drone delivery program, but for saving lives. Researchers at William Carey University have been focused on this application for years, and their telemedicine drone research is paying off.

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"We've got kits that are designed to go into the wilderness so that if you're stung by a bee or you've got a snake bite, things of that nature, we can provide assistance in that moment," researcher Italo Subbarao told CNN.

It's like Amazon's drone delivery program, but for saving lives.

The researchers recently demonstrated their trauma kits, carried by drones and coordinated with local emergency management systems, that could be lifesaving after terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or vehicle accidents. They could locate people via phone GPS. They could also make a huge difference in rural areas, where the researchers want them to reach isolated homes long before emergency care.

Yes, there's a lot of backlash against the flying tech. They aren't highly regulated. Many are more toy than machine. Assholes fly them into airplanes. They are weapons of ethically fraught warfare in the Middle East. Are they being used to spy in the States? But any new technology is bound to have some freaky side effects—just look at AI. It's the good it does that matters, at least for now.

From: Esquire