The technology enabling parcel delivery by drones has come a long way in recent years, but supporters are still debating how best to use the unmanned aerial vehicles. With limits to the weight they can carry and distance they can cover, drones will probably not be deployed for standard e-commerce home delivery anytime soon.
However, a pilot program conducted by Drone Delivery Canada Corp. (DDC) indicates that drones can play a critical role in providing emergency medical assistance in rural areas.
In June, DDC completed Phase Two of its “AED on the Fly” pilot project, using its “Sparrow” drone model to drop an automated external defibrillator (AED) to an untrained bystander, who retrieved the AED and applied it to a simulated cardiac arrest patient. According to DDC, the first phase of the pilot, which was conducted in collaboration with Peel Region Paramedics and the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine, demonstrated that its drones can deliver defibrillators faster than a traditional ambulance can, while phase two evaluated techniques for further reducing response time.
“Phase Two of our research was truly a success,” said Dr. Sheldon Cheskes, an associate professor at the University of Toronto and the program’s principal investigator, in release. “After today’s test flights, it will not take long to see drones as part of an organized 911 response to cardiac arrest in rural communities.”