New Drone Ambulance Concept

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Argodesign from Austin, Texas, has designed a drone ambulance that promises to speed up emergency support in hard to reach places and provide quick treatment for major traffic accidents.

In emergencies, seconds count. An estimated 1,000 “saveable” lives are lost a year because of slow emergency response in the nation’s biggest cities. But in traffic-jammed urban environments, how can a four-wheeled ambulance be expected to make it anywhere and back quickly?

Argodesign’s proposal for a drone ambulance looks like it could come flying straight out of a Hunger Games movie. The drone, a quadcopter carrying a pod big enough for a single EMT and one patient, could be flown autonomously or by a pilot and would be capable of landing almost anywhere.

The design firm churned out the idea in response to Fast Company magazine’s prompt, “What one thing in the health care industry desperately needs to be redesigned, and how would you redesign it?” Their solution is fascinating because it employs the still-controversial drone technology in a futuristic, Jetsons-style approach to health care.

Mark Rolston, founder and chief creative officer at the firm, told Business Insider that Argodesign “had lot of conversations with companies about drones”, but had noticed most of them were focused on creating small drones for consumer applications – companies like Amazon have explored using them for delivery, for example.

“Obviously, it’s not a thoroughly vetted concept, but I think it’s extremely intriguing where drones might show up,” says Mark Rolston. “It would be nice to see them used this way, rather than another military function or more photography.”

The idea was born from a team brainstorming session around how health care could become more accessible. The designers first thought about how they could build a better ambulance, and the rise of autonomous vehicles inspired them to consider a self-driving ambulance. Then they thought of helicopters and drones, and the rest developed from there.

“So the design team started asking themselves what other problems could be solved with this new technology. The concept work such as the drones is our creative outlet to explore ideas our clients are not ready to ask for, to leverage innovative new technologies and imagine how they may come to shape our future,” Rolston said.

In the designers’ minds, the drone does not need a pilot on location, so it can depart immediately.

It would fly above traffic or rural territories, avoiding obstacles on the ground to arrive on location faster than a normal ambulance. The drone is also very small: it is the size of a compact car, meaning that it would be able to land on a street, while helicopters still need a lot of preparation on the ground before they can land.

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