Flying defibrillators: How drones save lives in Sweden

It’s about saving vital minutes. If you do not get the right treatment after a cardiac arrest has occurred, the chance of survival decreases by 10% every minute. So if the drone arrives 2-3-4 minutes before the ambulance, the chance of survival increases significantly. The original idea came from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, which has researched the concept.

the system starts up and gets ready to fly in the event of an alarm. The pilot towers the control tower and asks for permission to operate in the relevant sector. Normally it takes 20-25 seconds, and during that period the drone is still starting up, so you do not lose any time on it.

The alarm process is automated:

A person who witnesses an incident calls the emergency center, which clicks on an index called medical cardiac arrest. Then a signal goes automatically to the drone, which is ready to depart within 60 seconds. The operators at the control center never have to make a decision to send the drone. There is no UTM system in Sweden, as in Norway. Everdrone flies within controlled airspace so that they can coordinate the operation with the air traffic service. Everdrone has applied to the authorities to establish geographical UAS zones, but this has still not been clarified.

– A concept with blood tests will affect the logistics systems in the hospital organization in a completely different way, so it is more complicated from a customer perspective. When it comes to flying defibrillators, Sällström experiences that there is already great interest in the service in Sweden. There is no one who thinks this is a bad idea. But getting public funding for purchasing and operation, it will take time. One of the reasons why we work with Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm is for them to conduct research and see that the drones actually arrive faster than the ambulance and that there are opportunities to save lives.

Flights over longer distances will also require more. We have chosen a platform based on multicopter technology. If you look at it regulatory, it is more complex to fly long distances, we do not have the infrastructure and technology to do that in a simple way. Since we coordinate with the air traffic service, we know that no one else is in the sector we operate in. If we were to fly 50 kilometers in uncontrolled airspace, then it would be a completely different type of operation. We can not guarantee that there is no hobby pilot or parachutist in the area.

Slik kan en nær autonom flyvning se ut på skjermen til piloten som alltid følger med og kan overstyre dronen. Røde felt indikerer området hvor dronen ikke skal fly. Grønn strek indikerer hvordan dronen er planlagt å operere. På vei ut til pasienten prioriterer den raskeste vei og lavest mulig risiko. Foto: Anders Martinsen

Everdrone’s drone is a DJI Matrix 600 Pro. Below is the defibrillator that is transported to patients in the Gothenburg area. Photo: Anders Martinsen

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