Drones: the flightpath of the future

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Drones: the flightpath of the future
A tri-copter drone ready for use (Alan Berner/Seattle Times/MCT)

BY JOHNNY LIU
Staff Writer

We have all heard the countless stories of unarmed citizens being killed, schools and day-cares being bombed and mosques being targeted by drones. Drones are typically associated with death and destruction, but not anymore.

Recently Alec Momont of the Netherlands, a graduate from the Delft University of Technology, invented a drone to save lives instead of take them. His invention, which is still in the early stages of development, can bring medical supplies to people in dire and immediate need. Inspired by the cardiac arrest-induced death of a neighbor, he designed an unmanned aerial vehicle to bring defibrillators to heart attack victims.

By sending a drone instead of an ambulance, 911 dispatchers can save precious minutes and, as a result, lives as well. In California, the required response times of emergency medial service lies between 12 to 15 minutes. In cities like Detroit with high crime rates and underfunded emergency medical service teams, the response times can exceed 25 minutes.

Momont’s drone, which can fly at speeds of up to 62 miles per hour, greatly reduces the response times. Weighing just eight pounds and carrying a defibrillator that is capable of 50 shocks, the ambulance drone can be stationed on top of buildings or telephone poles. One thousand ambulance drones, capable of covering 12 square kilometers each, can cover the entire area of New York City.

In many European countries commercial drone use is regulated and allowed, but in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration has been hesitant in providing the much needed legal guidelines. One in every four deaths in America is due to cardiac arrest, totaling to about 600,000 deaths a year. With every day that goes by, more people are dying and more families are suffering, but with Momont’s drones countless lives will be saved.

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