Whatever your opinion of them, you can’t deny that drones are here to stay. Their price is dropping while their endurance, range and payload capacity are all increasing rapidly. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that there are likely to be 76,000 flying by 2030 which will add £42 billion to the country’s GDP as new types of jobs develop in building, developing, operating and regulating UAVs. Read more here.
Businesses have been quick to embrace the commercial potential of this new technology and drones are already being used in a wide variety of sectors. As well as revolutionising hazardous surveys and inspections they’re employed in the agriculture industry to supervise crops, in telecommunications to maintain equipment and boost broadcast signals, and in the media for all manner of filming and promotional purposes.
However, health and safety are where drones can have the biggest impact on people’s day to day lives. From those 76,000 drones expected to be flying in 2030, 36% are predicted to be employed by the public sector.
The current function as an ‘eye in the sky’ has lots of lifesaving benefits. They’ve been used extensively in disaster zones to provide real-time footage to responders and the Fire Service regularly fly drones to inspect and assess the damage – Mountain Rescue and the RNLI are also testing how UAVs can help to locate people lost in the wild or at sea. But, as technology improves with drones becoming capable of carrying heavier and heavier loads, the latest innovations focus on how they can be used to deliver essential medical equipment in an emergency.
These new developments are particularly important when it comes to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. This condition kills more than 300,000 people in Europe alone and can strike anyone, anywhere at any time. The only effective treatment is to use a defibrillator and fast action is vital – your chances of survival drop by 20% every minute after an attack. Therefore, if you’re in a remote area or a location that doesn’t have one installed nearby, your chances of survival are practically zero.
For this reason, a drone that can be deployed quickly and is capable of carrying a defibrillator is one of the industry’s main priorities. Tests have already been carried out in Sweden and show that a drone can reach patients an average of four times faster than an ambulance.
As you would expect, Martek is at the head of these new developments. Our Lifeline range of defibrillators are particularly suited to UAV delivery as they’re lightweight, durable and easy-to-use by non-medical personnel. We’re involved in some important tests that are going ahead very soon so watch this space for the results…